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Committed to welfare of minorities, says Telangana CM

Hyderabad, Dec. 23: Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy has assured that the Congress government in the state is committed to welfare and development of minorities.

Revanth Reddy, who assumed office two weeks ago, gave the assurance in the state Assembly on December 21, the last day of the first session of the newly elected House.

“The Congress government is 100 percent committed to welfare and development of minorities. The Congress appointed persons from minorities to the posts of chief ministers and even President of India. There is no need for Congress to learn from anyone for minority welfare,” he said during a heated exchange with Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi.

There was a bitter war of words between the two leaders after MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi alleged that the Congress party is trying to suppress the voice of Muslims. Revanth Reddy hit back saying MIM is not a ‘thekedar’ of Muslims.

This was the first showdown between Congress and MIM after the bitterly contested Assembly elections. As MIM had supported BRS in the Assembly elections and the latter failed to retain power, the tension between MIM and Congress was evident.

Immediately after coming to power, Congress had appointed Akbaruddin Owaisi as protem Speaker to administer oath to newly-elected MLAs and also oversee the election of Speaker. This was seen as an attempt by Congress to warm up MIM. The Chief Minister had also held a meeting with Akbaruddin Owaisi and other MLAs to discuss the problems of the old city.

However, sparks flew in the Assembly after the MIM leader got agitated after a Congress MLA interrupted his speech during a debate on whitepaper on energy sector.

“Do you think that you can cow down us after getting power after 10 years. We are not the ones to be cowed down. We fought and will continue to fight,” said Akbaruddin Owaisi.

The AIMIM leader also recalled that the last chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh Kiran Kumar Reddy had sent him to jail.

“We went to jail five times and if we have to go again, we will go. If you want confrontation, we are ready for it,” he told the Congress party.

Revanth Reddy told Owaisi that MIM can’t claim to be the representative of Muslims. “If this is true, why did you field a Muslim candidate in Jubilee Hills constituency to defeat former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin,” he asked.

The Chief Minister mentioned that MIM’s friend KCR tried to defeat another Muslim leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir by contesting from Kamareddy.

As KCR entered the fray from Kamareddy, Congress had shifted Shabbir to Nizamabad Urban. However, he lost the election to a BJP candidate.

During the heated exchange, Akbaruddin Owaisi also stated that Revanth Reddy’s political career started from ABVP and he had been with TRS, BJP, Congress, RSS. “With experience of being everywhere, he should be matured,” he remarked.

To this, the Chief Minister stated that if he starts speaking about MIM, they will have a tough time. He recalled how MIM had backed N. Bhaskar Rao when he toppled the TDP government headed by N.T. Rama Rao.

Akbaruddin Owaisi responded by saying he was ready for a debate. He claimed that MIM’s every decision was for the upliftment of the state. “We supported Bhaskar Rao to get a medical and engineering college for minorities. This was the first medical college to come up in the country under Article 31A,” he said.

The MIM leader also gave a counter to Congress over its allegation that MIM is B-team of BJP. “You called us the B team of BJP. We are not a B-team. We will die but will not have friendship with those who demolished Babri Masjid and those who played holi with the blood of Muslims. We will never go with the BJP,” he said.

It will be interesting to see if MIM and Congress head for a political confrontation after this war of words in the Assembly or they cooperate with each other to address the problems of minorities.


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