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In Telangana, Congress May Woo Minorities With Free Power for Churches and Mosques, Urdu as Official Language

The rough draft of the manifesto, which has been accessed by News18, has promised several schemes tailored for the minorities, especially Muslims, which act as the deciding factor in at least 42 out of its 119 assembly constituencies.

News18.com

Updated:November 27, 2018, 3:31 PM IST
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In Telangana, Congress May Woo Minorities With Free Power for Churches and Mosques, Urdu as Official Language
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi along with party leaders wave at the crowd at an election rally in Medchal, Telangana. (PTI File Photo)
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Hyderabad: The Congress has promised to provide free electricity to churches and mosques, monthly payments to imams and pastors and several other sops to minority communities in Telangana in a draft manifesto as it goes all out in a battle for their votes with K Chandrashekar Rao.

The draft of the manifesto, which has been accessed by News18, has promised several schemes tailored for the minorities, especially Muslims, which account for nearly 12.5% of Telangana’s population and act as the deciding factor in at least 42 out of its 119 assembly constituencies.

The party promised, that if voted to power, it would make Urdu the “second official language” of the state and ensure that all government orders are issued in the language.

The draft manifesto states that a Congress government would establish three finance corporations for Muslims, Christians, and Linguistic & Other Minorities.

Under the Muslim finance corporation, the party said it would give Muslim youth opportunities to get government contracts, Rs 5 lakh financial assistance for construction of house, Rs 20 lakh assistance to poor students for overseas study, judicial powers to Wakf Board as well as special residential schools and government hospitals

In addition, the party promised to make it mandatory to have one member from Muslim community in the Telangana State Public Service Commission, and that all Imams and Maouzans of mosques will be given a monthly honorarium of Rs. 6,000.

Calling the draft manifesto divisive, finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the party rejects it completely. “Any kind of categorisation on the basis of religion is not provided in the Constitution,” he said.

Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called the manifesto an attempt at ‘Muslim appeasement’ and said his party led by PM Narendra Modi “believes in development without discrimination and empowerment without appeasement”.

However, the Telangana Congress party has vehemently denied authoring such a manifesto, claiming the document was 'fabricated'. According to ANI, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy said: "There’s no particular community that will be sided by any party except BJP. This draft manifesto is fabricated, we're probing who's behind this."

The BJP, which is contesting solo in Telangana, has also lined up its national top brass for public meetings, mostly in constituencies with a sizeable Muslim population. Analysts said this is a strategy to polarise non-Muslim votes as the party leaders will oppose separate quota for Muslims, at these meetings.

The separate quota has been a long-standing promise of the TRS, which has formed an alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, to woo Muslims in the state.

The Congress trained its guns on KCR for “cheating minorities” and failing to fulfil the reservation promise in the last five years.

“In 2014 elections, Muslims trusted the TRS after KCR promised to increase the Muslim quota to 12% within four months after coming to power. Constitution of Sudhir Commission, BC Commission and then passing a resolution in the Legislature to increase the Muslim quota to 12% went in vain as KCR colluded with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Government at the Centre to dump the 12% quota promise,” the manifesto stated.

Apart from the sops to Muslims, the Congress also has promised steps for Christians, including SC status for Dalit Christians, health and accidental insurance worth Rs 5 lakh for pastors and fathers, 2bhk houses, free education for their children, an honorarium and residential schools among other things.

The party also has elaborate plans for the SC, ST and OBCs in the state, if voted to power.

Congress has promised that it would approach the Centre to “expedite the process of categorisation of SCs” and that three special corporations under SC Welfare department will be constituted. “One will be for Madigas, one for Malas and another will be for other SC communities,” says the accessed manifesto.

Announcing electricity freebies, Congress has also promised that “SC and ST families will be provided free power up to 200 units.”

Congress has also promised that Scheduled Tribes will be “given reservation quota in proportion to their population in the State.”

As far as backward class welfare is concerned the Congress has now promised that a “separate Separate BC Welfare Departments will be set up to provide equal share in the development of all BC classes.” Even a resolution “will be passed in the state Assembly to force Centre for withdrawal of OBC from the creamy layer.”

The Congress also said it would reinstate all the 26 castes that were removed by TRS government from backward classes list, according to the draft. The party has now promised “priority” in this issue.

Since elections this year also have a strong connect with the agrarian crisis suffered, Congress has also promised that “crop loans up to Rs. 2 Lakh will be waived off in a single take,” and also that a “separate Agriculture Budget, which was first introduced by the previous Congress regime under erstwhile AP, will be resumed.”

Waiver of crop loans up to 2 lakhs have also been promised by Telangana congress.
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