VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday assured the Muslim community that a leader from amongst them would soon be inducted into the State Cabinet and also held out the promise of more number of Assembly tickets to them in the next elections. Addressing a well-attended meeting of minorities, christened Nara Hamara, TDP Hamara, in Guntur, the Chief Minister urged Muslims to come forward to secure their rightful share of political space and expressed his readiness to support them.
Speculation of Cabinet expansion has been rife ever since the TDP exited the NDA and BJP Ministers quit the Naidu government earlier this year.
The Chief Minister waited for the right forum to clear the air on the same. He, however, didn’t indicate when exactly the Cabinet would be expanded. Throughout his lengthy speech, Naidu went all-out to woo minorities, apparently to regain their trust as most of them have been deserting the party and voting for the YSRC after he allied with the BJP in 2014.
Promising a plethora of sops, Naidu listed the various welfare measures he had announced for them and announced that he was ready to give them opportunities in the form of nominated posts among others.
Lambasting the BJP for its alleged anti-Muslim attitude, he called upon the community to lend him a helping hand in dethroning the Modi government. “It is not the corrupt YSRC, it is not the conspiratorial Pawan Kalyan who will fight for your cause, but it is always the TDP that will stand up for you,” he claimed emphasizing the need for ensuring the victory of the TDP in the next elections.
Expressing confidence that Muslims would vote for the TDP, he went on to accuse the YSRC of colluding with the BJP in an apparent effort to wean the community away from the Opposition party.“YSRC in which you all have reposed your faith has cheated you, by going with the BJP with the sole purpose of having the cases against its leader withdrawn. Both YSRC and BJP are enacting a big drama and conspiring against the TDP, which is the true champion of all the people in the state including minorities,” he said.
Recalling that he had made Hyderabad curfew-free by ensuring communal harmony in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, he repeatedly asserted that he was for minorities and warned those trying to threaten the minorities of dire consequences. To drive home his point, he cited the example of the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kashmir and went on to wonder how could the BJP decide what people should eat and speak — in an obvious reference to the beef controversy.
He also raised the triple talaq issue and said the Centre should have backed down after the Muslim community had objected to its proposal to criminalise it.Naidu further assured the community that the TDP would do its best to implement the Sachar committee recommendations, including providing four per cent quota for Muslims.
Earlier, TDP general secretary and IT Minister Nara Lokesh, in his address, said Chandrababu Naidu is the only trustworthy leader in the state, while YSRC and Jana Sena leaders are there only to deceive. He also spoke at length about the BJP’s alleged betrayal of the State. “They promised special category status, but dragged it on for four years and at the end of it, betrayed the state,” he alleged.