Hyderabad, Dec 16: It has been more than 10 days since the new Congress government assumed office in Telangana but the Cabinet is yet to have Muslim representation.
Though it is not a long period yet the absence of any Muslim in the Cabinet is already being felt.
Minority declaration, which was announced by the Congress party during the election campaign, was ignored in Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s address to the joint session of both the houses of State Legislature.
The Governor’s first address to the newly-elected Assembly is considered significant. The Governor presents the agenda and priorities of the new Cabinet. The address highlights the government’s policies and through this the government tells the people what measures it plans to take for welfare and development.
The Governor’s speech mentioned SC&ST declaration, BC declaration, farmers’ declaration and youth declaration but there was no mention of minority declaration in the speech.
“We are assuring people in the state that we will implement the Warangal declaration made for farmers, the Hyderabad Yuva declaration made for youth, the SC&ST declaration announced in Chevella, and the BC declaration promised in Kamareddy in its letter and spirit very soon,” the Governor said.
During the election campaign, State Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy, who has now become Chief Minister, had released the declaration which was prepared by a committee headed by former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir.
It is significant to note that the Governor delivers the speech prepared by the government. The State Cabinet had approved the speech.
Since there is no Muslim minister in the Cabinet, apparently there was no one to draw the chief minister’s attention to include reference to the minority declaration in the speech.
The word minorities was mentioned in a sentence relating to the assurance to render justice to all sections.
“Our government will render justice to all those sections that were subjected to discrimination and oppression. The government will stand by them. We will take into consideration all sections of people, farmers, students, employees, the poor, SC, ST, BC, Minorities, retired employees, martyrs’ families, people who took part in the separate Telangana statehood movement, workers, etc., and welfare and development action would be based on these sections,” the Governor said.
In the minority declaration, Congress had made a slew of promises for their development and welfare.
The party has promised to increase minorities welfare budget to Rs.4,000 crore along with a dedicated minorities sub-plan.
The Congress party, which had provided 4 percent reservation for socially and economically backward among Muslims in united Andhra Pradesh by categorising them in a separate group BC(E), promised that if voted to power in Telangana, it would conduct a caste census within six months and ensure fair reservation for all backward classes including minorities in jobs, education and government welfare schemes.
The Congress also assured that it will provide Rs.1,000 crore annually to facilitate subsidized loans for jobless minority youth and women.
On December 7, the new government headed by Revanth Reddy was formed. Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and 10 other ministers took oath with him.
Since no Muslim was elected on Congress ticket, the Cabinet has no representative from the community.
However, the Cabinet will be expanded soon to give representation to other sections and regions who were left out.
Senior leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir is likely to be inducted whenever the Cabinet is expanded. He suffered a loss in the Assembly election in Nizamabad Urban constituency. If inducted into the current Legislative Council, he may be the only Muslim face in the Cabinet.
Former MP and former Indian Cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin and Mohammed Feroze Khan, who were also defeated in the polls, are also the contenders.
Since the Cabinet can have a maximum of 18 members and there are many contenders for Cabinet berths among the MLAs and also from a couple of seniors who could not win the elections, the possibility of nominating two Muslim leaders to the Council to include them in the Cabinet appears remote.