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HVK Archives: Muslim Congressmen present 17 demands

Muslim Congressmen present 17 demands - Asian Age

Pratap Thorat ()
2 July 1996

This is a clear sign that the Muslim leadership is only
concerned with the communal problems and not the secular
problems. It defies imagination that how solving the problem
of Muslim representation in position of power will solve the
problems of health, education, security etc. Of course, since
these positions of power will be occupied by the very
politicians making the demand, one can see the game plan
of these people. Of course, the psecularists wills still project
these people as the leaders of the community, in addition to
the Mullahs and Moulovis. It needs to be recognised that the
seeds of partition were sown in the separate electorate that
was granted to the Muslims, at the instance of the Muslim

Title : Muslim Congressmen present 17 demands
Author : Pratap Thorat
Publication : Asian Age
Date : July 2, 1996

Mumbai, June 29: There must be five Muslim ministers, and
not just one or two, in a 40-member Cabinet if the
Congress manages to return to power in Maharashtra in

This will be one of the 17 demands by about 700 Muslim
Congressmen from Maharashtra, who are going to present a
charter of demand to the central leadership of the party,
at a function on Sunday at the state Congress
headquarters, Tilak Bhavan. The chief of the minority
cell of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Prof.
Javed Khan will present this 17-point charter of demand
to the All India Congress Committee minority cell chief
Tariq Anwar.

The exercise is aimed at letting the party high command
know what went wrong in respect to the Muslims all these
years which culminated in their divorcing the Congress.
Sources explained that the Muslims comprise 12 per cent
of the state's population, officially, though the Muslim
leaders feel that their actual percentage is 15. A 12 per
cent representation in the state cabinet, of say 40
members, takes the number of Muslim ministers to five,
though the practice of the Congress party has been to
include only one cabinet minister and one minister of
state from this community.

Muslim Congressmen now want representation in
to their population in the state. The other demands in
the charter are mostly based on proportionate
representation in the internal organisational elections
of the Congress party at the levels of polling booth,
village panchayat, panchayat samiti, block, district and
state. The Congress should issue party tickets to
minority candidates in proportion to the population in
future elections for the local bodies like the village
panchayats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishads,
municipal councils and corporations as also the state
assembly and the Lok Sabha.

After coming to power the party's government should give
more than proportionate representation to minorities on
the government committees, boards, corporations and

Reservation in government, semi-government and private
sector units.

The Congress ministers, Parliament and state Assembly
members, corporators and other leaders should learn the
15 -point programmer for the minorities which was
prepared by Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1983, so that its
implementation would be facilitated.

The local minority leaders should be included instead of
the state-level big leaders on the local parliamentary
boards of the party while deciding candidates for various
local elections. The experience was that the state-level
leaders gave tickets to their relatives without being
aware of the political aspirations of the local people,

especially those of the minorities, which inevitably led
to the party's debacle and electoral success of rebel
Congressmen or other parties.

For instance, in the Aurangabad zilla parishad there was
not a single Muslim member in the 58-member body though
there were many Muslim pockets in the rural Aurangabad.
One state selection board cannot choose candidates for
7,000 panchayat samitis, 290 municipal councils, 11
municipal corporations and 29 zilla parishads.

During the last five years, the state government did not
sanction a single degree college to any Muslim
educational institution despite its eligibility. For
instance, the 100-year-old Nagpur-based, Anjuman Hami-I-
Islam has a lot of land in the heart of the Nagpur city,
the required funds, reputation and other infrastructure.
Yet its applications for a degree college were repeatedly
turned down even when the Congress ruled the state.

The charter recalls that Article 30 (1) and (2)
guarantees establishment and conducting of educational
institutions of the choice of the minorities. This is the
only Article of the Constitution on which not a single
Act was passed by any legislature, not a single rule was
framed by a state cabinet and not a single regulation
was prepared by a government department ' so far, it
said. The situation must be remedied, the charter said.

Title : BJP mentality

Mumbai, June 29: "Agar aap chahte hain ki Musalman
Congress mein vaapas aaye to aapko apni BJP wali zehniyat
ko badalna hoga (If you want the Muslims to return to the
Congress, you will have to change your BJP-type
mentality)," scholar and Congressman Dr Rafique Zakaria
said quite plainly said'

Humbled after the Assembly and Parliamentary elections
defeat, the Congress had to quietly listen when Muslim
leaders in the city stated sharply on Saturday that it
was time the party returned to its true principals of
secularism. All India Congress Committee minorities cell
chief Mr Tariq Anwar, harped on the need to do some soul-
searching on the alienation of Muslims from the Congress.
A number of Congress and Muslim leaders were speaking
a seminar on 'Communalism and its impact on Indian
democracy' organised by the Bombay Regional Congress
Committee at Haj House on Saturday.

Maulana Zaheer Abbas, a religious leader, regretted that
the Congress which was once the only hope for people from
all castes, creeds and religions, was taking refuge in
the home of parties which have no stature as in Uttar
Pradesh. "The United Front government leaders who had
promised to rebuild the Babri Masjid at the same spot
before the election, should do so now that they are in
power," he said. Interestingly, not a single speaker
mentioned former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao when
enamoring the names of Congress leaders of eminence.

The minority cell chief asked the Muslims to speak up and
let the leaders know their grievances. "Unfortunately,
secularism in the party is equated with silence. We must
let the party leaders know our minds." said Mr Aawar. Mr
Anwar said that not only Muslims but dalit and other
backward communities too had forsaken the Congress in the
just concluded Lok Sabha elections.

"The Congress was coming to be seen as the party of the
middle class," he said and added that there was a need to
bring back these sections to the Congress.

Even in defeat he said the picture was not as dismal as
it was painted.

The communal forces polled only 23 per cent votes. The
remaining 77 per cent were won by the secular parties,"
he reasoned.

He attributed the Congress defeat to "a conspiracy to
alienate the poor, the dalits and the Muslims from the

He said that the Janata Dal and other parties which had
called the BJP and the Congress the two sides of the same
coin had been proved wrong by the Congress decision not
to support the BJP government.

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