NEW DELHI: Assam, West Bengal and Kerala have the highest proportion of Muslims in their population for any state other than Jammu & Kashmir. It is natural, therefore, that how the community votes can have an important, often decisive effect on electoral outcomes. So what happened in the seats with significant Muslim populations this time round?
The bad news for the Congress is that in Kerala its alliance did worse than last time even in the Muslim-dominated seats. The good news is that in Bengal, it did better in terms of both seats and vote shares and in Assam it won an extra seat, but saw its vote share drop a touch. In all three states, the BJP has gained vote share even in these seats, an indication perhaps of some consolidation of the non-Muslim vote in its favour. In Assam, the Congress had won 14 of the 36 seats with a dominant or decisive Muslim presence last time, while the AIUDF had won 17, leaving little for the others. This time round, the Congress raised its tally to 15 while the AIUDF saw its tally fall to 11, which meant the BJP won eight of the Muslim-dominated seats and the AGP two. In Kerala, the LDF made gains in the Muslim-dominated seats that have traditionally been a hard nut to crack for the Left. Against a 29-14 split of the 43 such seats last time in the UDF’s favour, this time the Left won 22 to the UDF’s 21.