Hyderabad: Since the formation of the state, the Muslim community has supported BRS and its ally AIMIM. But now, the Congress hopes to replicate Karnataka’s success in Telangana with plans to announce welfare schemes for Muslims in its manifesto.
In fact, Congress may release the Minorities Declaration soon, as it concluded the last open session of the Minorities Declaration Draft Committee in the city on Thursday, October 19.
Accounting for about 13 percent of the population and over 40 lakh voters, Muslims have the potential to influence the outcome in 45 out of 119 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections in Telangana.
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While addressing a press conference, former minister and TPCC Minorities Declaration Draft Committee chairman Mohammed Shabbir Ali confirmed that Rahul Gandhi may release the document in the next few days.
Shabbir Ali said, “Some of the important suggestions include an increase in the minorities welfare budget to Rs 5,000 crore, hike in the budget for marriage scheme, a separate law to stop discrimination on religious grounds.”
Before bifurcation Congress government implemented a 4 percent Muslim reservation which changed the lives of lakhs of poor Muslim families in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the last 17-18 years, Shabbir Ali noted.
“Of 56 minority engineering and professional colleges sanctioned by the previous Congress regime, 50 colleges have been shut down by the BRS. The government is also attempting to reduce the existing 4 per cent Muslim reservation to 3 percent,” said Ali.
The Congress is likely to include the promises of setting up new medical, engineering and other professional colleges. The suggestion for setting up a private minority university may also be included in the declaration.
Congress’ move comes after a section was reportedly disappointed that the BRS manifesto did not have any promise for minorities, adding that that the Muslim community is now considering the party as an alternative due to reports of a “secret understanding” between BRS and BJP.
The party hopes to replicate its success in Karnataka and plans to announce welfare schemes for Muslims in its manifesto while the BJP aims to remove the 4 percent reservation for Muslims.
Earlier in June, the Telangana Muslim Organisations Joint Action Committee released a Muslim declaration listing 22 demands that a political party must promise to fulfil to secure the votes of Muslims.
It said, that Muslims should be allocated at least 10 MLA seats, one per undivided Telangana district, excluding the Old City of Hyderabad, and 10-12 per cent reservation for marginalized Muslims in public education and employment. Ten thousand crore rupees should be allocated for the welfare of minorities in each year’s state budget, among other things.