Byculla Assembly Constituency: Question of Representative Democracy in India

Rehan Ansari for BeyondHeadlines

With more than a lakh Muslim voter among nearly 2.4 lakh, Byculla Assembly in Mumbai always had a chance of Muslim MLA. Despite many Communal Riots, since independence, most of the time secular Hindus represented Byculla as was the practice all over India, without any questions asked.

But since the last few years, the voice of Muslim representations is getting momentum because of zero Muslim MPs from Maharashtra out of 48. Whereby there are at least 14 Parliament seats where the Muslim population can play a decisive role or play a spoiler. Reportedly, 1.3 Crore Muslims make 11.56% of 11.24 crore Population in Maharashtra. Dhule, Aurangabad, Bhiwandi, Nanded, Parbhani, Latur, Akola, Thane and all 6 seats in Mumbai have 15% to 30% Muslims.

Talk of Muslim Representations in politics started with the rise of the BJP and the toeing of Soft Hindutva politics by the Congress. Congress allegedly started avoiding Muslim representations questioning the Winibility of Muslim candidates, the same reasons quoted by the BJP now. But the fact of the matter is that not only the Congress but all Officially Secular Party are losing almost all the elections along with their Candidates. Even the Supreme leader of Congress, Rahul Gandhi has lost from UP and could win from a Muslim dominated constituency in Kerala. Where is the question of Winnability now?

Even the BJP is not giving political representation to Muslims, despite the fact that most of the BJP candidates are winning because of the Prime Minister Modi’s popularity and not because of their winnability.

Although in the last national election held in 2019, Muslim representation increased to 27 MPs after falling to its lowest- 22 MPs in 2014.

The bottom line is that Muslims always supported Congress and other Secular parties because of their Official Stand on Secularism. This support was taken for granted by these parties; they allegedly, indulged in making a Democracy, undemocratic by evading Muslim representation.

BJP has positioned itself as the Hindutva Party, hence is not expecting Muslims to vote for them, neither do they want Muslims to vote for Congress and other official secular parties, thus the need for Muslim dominated party arose.

In Maharashtra, the Political parties doing politics in the name of Muslims like UP based Samajwadi Party in Maharashtra could not go beyond Abu Asim Azmi in more than 20 years. They could win only one assembly seat of Abu Asim Azmi from Mankhurd Shivajinagar an Eastern Suburb of Mumbai and few Corporators in Maharashtra. It is alleged that they end up spoiling the prospects of Congress n NCP in seats with substantial Muslim population hence helping BJP & Shiv Sena and further the cause of reducing Muslim representation in Politics.

In 2014, Abu Asim Azmi led Samajwadi Party had a competitor AIMIM, led by Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi who went beyond Hyderabad in Telangana and Nanded in Maharashtra. They fought nearly 25 seats in Maharashtra in 2014 Assembly election and won 2 seats that of Adv. Waris Pathan from Byculla and journalist Imtiyaz Jaleel from Aurangabad. They have also won many corporation seats in Maharashtra mostly in Marathwada.

Back to Byculla, unknown candidate Adv. Waris Pathan of lesser-known AIMIM, based in Hyderabad, won the assembly seat in 2014 defeating INC’s Madhu Chavan n BJP n Sena candidate’s, who fought separately. Although, Adv. Waris Pathan, who allegedly, went invisible from the area and turned largely unpopular among the voters because of his unavailability.

With this unpopularity of Adv. Waris Pathan, Abu Asim Azmi led SP sensed the opportunity and filed talented, hard-working and popular Corporator, Raees Shaikh. Being the group leader of SP in Mumbai Municipal Corporation and member of Standing Committee, Raees Shaikh could perform better than any other corporators in the Madanpura, one of the 6 Corporators area fall in the Byculla assembly. Other 4 corporators are from Shiv Sena and one is Geeta Gawli, daughter of Arun Gawli. She is the only Corporator of Akhil Bharatiya Sena who supported Shiv Sena in Mumbai Municipal Corporation and was rewarded the Chairmanship of Prabhag Samiti and membership in Standing Committee.

Raees Shaikh became popular among voters in Byculla not only among Muslims but also among the non-Muslims but then the twist in the tale. AIMIM made Faiyaz Ahmed, ex- Corporator of Madanpura and a Congress leader, their Mumbai Presidents. Another announcement was reported that Faiyaz Ahmed will fight Assembly Election from Govandi against Abu Asim Azmi. This was enough for a deal that Raees Shaikh has to withdraw from Byculla and Faiyaz Ahmed from Govandi.

There are few candidates left in the fray in Byculla now. Among them is a sitting MLA Waris Pathan once again is fighting this election from AIMIM.

Yamini Jadhav, ex-croporator of Shiv Sena and wife of Yashwant Jadhav, a Shiv Sainik and the Chairman of Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai-MCGM.

Geeta Gawli, Akhil Bhartiya Sena Corporator, Prabhag Samiti Chairman and a member of Standing Committee MCGM.

Ajaz Khan, Reality TV Star is fighting as an Independent Candidate after reported denial of a ticket from AIMIM from Mumbra.

Sameer Thakur once a close associate of Adv. Waris Pathan is also fighting as Independent from Byculla.

In 2014, where BJP and Shiv Sena fought separately, Waris Pathan could get 25314 Votes and won with the difference of only 1500 votes. The second was the BJP Candidate with 23957 Votes and Madhu Chavan of Congress was the third with 22021 votes. In absence of Shiv Sena, Akhil Bhartiya Sena’s Geeta Gawli got 20895 votes stand to 4th position and Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena- MNS received 19762 Votes.

Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant won the Parliament Election in 2019 from South Mumbai Constituency but going by the Assembly Constituency wise results of Byculla, Milind Deora of Congress received 76302 votes whereas Shiv Sena could manage to get only 47627 votes

Because of all these UthaPatak, turn and twist, voters may get confused specially the Muslims. It seems that polling from Muslim Locality will shrink also get divided and Yamini Jadhav from the Shiv Sena may get the clear win.

In a democracy, be a Hindu or Muslim, people should vote in large numbers to make our democracy more vibrant. Whoever, they think, can serve better should be voted. The only question remains, is our Democracy becoming more representative or turning Undemocratic Democracy with the dominance of only one or few cast and community.


Maharashtra Assembly Result 2014: Byculla- 184

Sr.No. Party Candidate Votes % of Votes
1 AIMIM Adv. Waris Pathan 25314 20.33
2 BJP Madhu Chavan 23957 19.24%
3 INC Madhukar Chavan 22021 17.68%
4 ABS Geeta Gawli 20895 16.78%
5 MNS Sanjay Naik 19762 15.87%
6 Independent Rohidas Lokhande 7865 6.32%




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