Guest post by ABUSALEH SHARIFF AND TANWEER FAZAL
One of the key issues being keenly watched in the recently concluded assembly elections in West Bengal was the direction in which the Muslim vote was going. Muslims constitute 25 per cent of West Bengal’s population. Despite such high concentration, the near absence of Muslims from public arena—art, culture, literature, public service, education—is alarming and should cause consternation in any polity, especially one that claims its legitimacy in the name of the poor and the marginalized. However, any suggestion that the long Left Front rule had rendered Muslims of West Bengal poorer and deprived than other social groups was taken as an affront to the so-called ‘exceptional’ record of the Left Front. Figures were trotted out, statistics read out in support of this track record. However, there is a difference between sops, assurances and promises made in an election year and the actual performance of a regime that has ruled a state for more than 30 years.