Poll 2024 – Voting Choices for the Muslims in Bihar and Jharkhand

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The India Observer, TIO: In the five-part series of the voting choices before the Muslims in India, this fourth write-up looks at the political scenario in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand.

There are 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar but only 34 matters to the Muslims because 6 are reserved for the Schedule caste Hindus. In Jharkhand, there are 14 Lok Sabha seats of which five are reserved for the SC candidates and one for the ST. So for the Muslims, only eight unreserved seats matter in Jharkhand. The two states jointly have  54 Lok Sabha seats.

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The executive summary is that unlike the 2019 LS elections, where the BJP had won 39 seats from Bihar and 12 seats in Jharkhand, this time the BJP tally may come down to 21 seats in Bihar and 7 7 seats in Jharkhand. In contrast, the Congress alliance may get 20 seats in Bihar, 7 seats in Jharkhand and a combined tally of 27 seats from the two states will help in shaping up the composition of the lower house of the Parliament

Bihar – Muslim population in Bihar is 17 percent. Kishanganj district tops the list with 68%, Katihar has 43% Araria with 42% and Purnia has 38%. Madhubani-26%, Darbhanga-23%, Sitamarhi- 21%, and West Champaran- 21%.

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Districts in Bihar with over ten percent of Muslim population are; East Champaran-19%, Bhagalpur-18%, Siwan-18%, Gopalganj- 17%, Supaul- 17%, Sheohar- 16%, Muzaffarpur-15%, Saharsa-14%, Begusarai-13%, Gaya -13%, Banka-12%, Jamui-12%, Nawada-11%, Madhepura-11%, Aurangabad 11%, Kaimur -10%, Khagaria- 10%, Rohtas- 10%, Samastipur-10%, Saran-10%, and Vaishali- 10%.

Districts with  less than ten percent Muslim population are; Jehanabad- 8%, Patna-8%, Munger-7.4%, Bhojpur 7%, Nalanda-7%, Sheikhpura-7%, Buxar 6% and Lakhisarai- 4%.

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There is going to be a three-cornered contest in Bihar. The first choice of the Muslims in Bihar may be the RJD–Congress alliance calling themselves Mahagathbandhan. In this political formation, the RJD is contesting 26 seats, Congress for 9 seats, CPI(ML) on 3 three, and CPI and CPM one each.

The second choice of the Muslims is the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contesting 11 Lok Sabha seats. AIMIM is contesting 4 seats in the Seemanchal region; Purnea, Katihar, Kishanganj, and Araria, and beyond it 7 more seats; Buxar, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Ujiyarpur, Darbhanga, and Karakat.

In 2019, the AIMIM contested just one LS seat from Kishanganj that it lost to the Congress. But in the 2020 Assembly election, the AIMIM won five seats from the Seemanchal region.

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Muslim votes in Bihar are split in three directions. One is for the Mahagathbandhan, where there is RJD and Congress. Muslims’ votes are also split to the NDA because there is JDU and its leader Nitish Kumar holds considerable sway over the Muslim voters. Then the Muslim votes drift to the AIMIM as well. These political preferences of the Muslims in Bihar inadvertently helped the NDA win 39 out of 40 seats in the 2019 LS election.

In the 2024 election Muslims have to make their choices clear, where the only criteria should be community above all consideration and vote for the party or alliance to make any impact in the national Parliament. Thus the only choice before the Muslim is to vote for Mahagathbandhan. If the Muslim votes are polled with this unity of purpose it is certain that the RJD–Congress alliance may get 25 seats.

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Jharkhand: Jharkhand, a tribal-dominated state, has 14 LS seats of which six are reserved constituency. In Jharkhand, the Muslim population is 14.53 percent but political observers feel that the Muslim population is about 18% in Jharkhand.

 In seven districts of Jharkhand, there is more than 20% of the Muslim population. These districts are Pakur (35.8%), Sahibganj (34.6%), Godda (22.02%), Giridih (20.8%), Jamtara (20.7%), Lohardaga (20.5%) and Deoghar (20.2%). Besides, Hazaribag and Dhanbad have 16.2% and 16.08% of Muslim population respectively. Koderma, Garhwa, and Ranchi are among the districts where the Muslim population is more than 14%. The popular sentiment is, that if Muslims vote cohesively, they can make a big difference in many constituencies in Jharkhand in this election.

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There is a straight contest between the Congress and the BJP-led alliance in Jharkhand. The Congress-led INDIA bloc includes JMM, RJD, and CPI(ML). The BJP-led NDA includes the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). In 2024 the BJP is contesting from 13 seats, while the AJSU from one.

In the 2019 LS election, the NDA alliance led by the BJP won 12 seats. Its vote share was 56%. In contrast, the Congress and the JMM alliance won one seat each despite getting a vote share of 34.58%. Later, in the Assembly elections, the JMM-Congress alliance trounced the NDA and gained a majority in the state assembly.

The political landscape has changed considerably in Jharkhand after the arrest of Chief Minister Hemant Soren by the Enforcement Directorate obviously at the behest of the BJP. While the BJP has justified ED action against Soren citing the corruption cases, the JMM has accused the BJP OF attempting to destabilize the opposition parties’ governments in non-BJP-ruled states.

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In this background, the situation on the ground has given an edge to the Congress-JMM alliance in Jharkhand.  It is certain that the tally of the Congress- JMM alliance will increase in the LS polls and this could be 7 seats from 2, whereas the NDA performance may come down from 12 to 7 seats in Jharkhand.

Conclusion: What comes out is that on the All-India level, Muslims are electorally uneducated. The motion “Community above Everything” has not sunk into their system before making their electoral choice.

The reason for the Muslims being politically moralized in India is that they don’t have any electoral knowledge of their political strength at the Parliamentary level or the Assembly level. Therefore the political decline of the Muslims in India is of its own making.

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Election after election Muslims have shown their political immaturity and lack of vision or any strategy to face the electoral battlefield. The political parties are cashing on their ignorance and immaturity and their dim-witted approach to understanding the political complexity of India.

If politics decides the future, Muslims can shape their future in the democratic structure in India. The only thing they lack is, to do thorough mathematical homework to understand the electoral configuration vis-à-vis their position in such political configuration in their constituencies. Their numerical strength is huge enough to turn democracy on its head.

If Muslims can relinquish their local ambitions and raise their vision to have a say in national politics, they can change their destiny in India. If the Indian Muslims can become the captain of their ship and the master of their destiny, they can happily steer their ship in the choppy waters of India and crown themselves to glory.

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Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at or TIO, at

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