Poll 2024 – Voting Choices for the Muslims in West Bengal and Orissa

You are Here: Tweet, Like, Share, Comment, Subscribe…be the Voice of Free Press!

The India Observer, TIO: In the series of articles on the voting choices of Muslims in India, this is the sixth write-up that looks at the political scenario of West Bengal and Orissa to submit the voting options for Muslims in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

West Bengal: There are 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. The state boasts the third highest number of Muslim electorate in the country after Kashmir and Assam. Muslims in West Bengal constitute nearly 30 percent of the voters. Muslim influence extends to 16-18 Lok Sabha seats, making them a coveted voting bloc for all parties in the state.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: The Big Ben of Kolkata

Several Parliamentary seats in both north and south Bengal, such as Raiganj, Coochbehar, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Murshidabad, Diamond Harbour, Uluberia, Howrah, Birbhum, Kanthi, Tamluk, and Joynagar, have significant Muslim population. In the districts such as Murshidabad, Malda, and North  Dinajpur, Muslims form the majority of the electorate.

Muslims have three choices to make in West Bengal. The first is the ruling TMC party, the second is the Congress-Left alliance, and the third is the Indian Secular Front (ISF).

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Muslims are made sacrificial lambs on the altar of democracy in India   

Muslims face a tough choice between the TMC candidates and Left-Congress candidates which makes the BJP a winner in many seats. In 2019, the BJP posed a big challenge to the TMC in the north Bengal region winning seven of the eight seats due to split votes of the Muslims. The BJP had won Maldah North and Raiganj seats in North Bengal where Muslims constitute approximately 45 percent of the electorate.

Notwithstanding the facts, there is a direct contest between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in West Bengal. It is a pity that the TMC is contesting separately in opposition to the Left-Congress alliance, giving the Hobson choice to the Muslim voters to choose either of them.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Judicial Fortitude: Examining India’s Judiciary in the Face of Adversity

The new entrant into Bengal’s political arena is the Indian Secular Front (ISF) a Muslim political party, eyeing for the Muslim votes in the state. In the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the ISF is contesting for six Lok Sabha seats – Jadavpur, Balurghat, Uluberia, Barrackpore, Diamond Harbour, and Basirhat. The fear is Muslims may split their votes voting for the ISF.

The community leaders feel that even though there may be some discontent within the community regarding the TMC’s approach towards Muslims, they have no choice other than voting for the TMC which is crucial to halting BJP’s advance in the state.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Equity Question of Muslim is a Myth India Finds a Report

To recall, in 2014, the TMC won 34 Lok Sabha seats, in 2019 it got reduced to 22 seats. However, in the 2021 assembly polls, Muslims voted for the TMC, securing its third consecutive term.

The 2024 LS poll is crucial for Muslims to send a maximum MP’s from West Bengal. There are several Lok Sabha seats where Muslims can play a pivotal role in stopping the BJP’s surge. Muslims in West Bengal should show their inclination towards only one party the Mamata Banerjee-led the TMC. This is the only credible force for Muslims in West Bengal despite the presence of another secular alternative in the state.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Mamta Bannerjee: Didi’s charisma Reigns…

In an off-the-cuff remark, the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had during one of the campaigns that the BJP will not get even 200 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP cannot repeat its performance of 2019 in West Bengal.

In 2019, the BJP set a record in Bengal by winning 18 of the 42 seats. The CPI (M) could not win any seat while the Congress retained only two. Boyed by the LS performance, PM Modi, has repeatedly said, “May duo, Didi go.” However, Muslim voters’ united effort brought TMC back to power. It seems to reason that BJP’s surge will be halted in West Bengal and the saffron party may get more than 12 to 15 seats.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: No Respite from Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes in 2024 

Odisha- There are 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in the Indian state of Odisha. The Muslim population in Odisha is roughly 2.2%.  Only the city of Bhadrak has the maximum Muslim population that’s about 35%. It is no surprise that the political parties contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha poll have not given a ticket to a Muslim candidate in Odisha.

Even then Muslims play a decisive role in some parliamentary constituencies in coastal Odisha. In the coastal pocket, Muslims have a sizeable population in nearly 30 to 35 assembly segments spread over seven Lok Sabha constituencies. They are; Cuttack, Kendrapada, Jagatsingh, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, and Bhubaneswar.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Indian Governance is paralyzed under PM Modi’s rule

In the 2024 LS poll Odisha will witness a three-cornered contest. Biju Janata Dal (BJD), BJP and the Congress. Muslims, by and large, have voted in favor of parties like Congress and BJD and this time also have the same choices. This is more so because the BJP and BJD are contesting separately.

The split of alliance between the BJD and the BJP has given opportunity for other political parties to come into the fray, especially the Indian National Congress.  As per the Lok poll survey, the INC has the support of Christians and Muslims alike. So does the Tribal population that is favoring the Congress.  This has opened doors for Muslims to vote either in the BJD or Congress in Odisha.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: ‘Golden period will start when BJP takes Bengal, Odisha’

In the upcoming poll, when the common effort of the Muslims is not to split the votes that may favor the BJP, the situation demands that Muslims should vote in favor of only one party. They should be on guard that the BJD in a crunch situation may align with the BJP in the formation of the national government.

So it’s a very delicate choice for Muslims in Orissa. Their vote should not get split between Congress and the BJD, leading to the advantage BJP. Their main criteria should be community first and not the BJD or the Congress. The Muslim votes should ensure victory for the candidate, that is in a winning position, either of the Congress or the BJD.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Electronic Voting Machines and India’s Quest for Free and Fair Elections 

Going by the previous electoral performance, in the 2019 LS poll, the BJD won 12 seats, the BJP 8 seats, and the Congress one seat. In 2014, the BJD had won 20 seats, the BJP just one seat. In the 2024 election, it will be an advantage for the BJD that increase its tally from 12 to 14 seats, while the BJP may come down to 10 seats. It won’t be a surprise, if Congress may snatch one seat from the kitty of the BJP or the BJD.

Also Read more from this Author: Call for Papers for an Edited Volume

Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

Articles written by contributors have different viewpoints. The views expressed in the articles are the author’s own and not necessarily supported by TIO, The India Observer its affiliates, staff, or the management. Our Articles can be reproduced, with the following conditions, (1) No alteration to the content, (2) Visible, and full credit is given to the Author & Editor. (3) Citing, The India Observer, TIO. In the case of online or electronic media, a link to the original article must be given. Rules are strictly enforced. Any questions, email the Editor at: Or

All Copyrights reserved. Please be guided.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *