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Andhra goes all out to woo minorities

Andhra goes all out to woo minorities

Author: Shwetal Rai
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: February 20, 2008
URL: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/andhra-goes-all-out-to-woo-minorities/59401-3.html

Minority Appeasement: The Andhra government is giving the minorities what they haven't asked for.

Critics say any government looking at minority appeasement can take a leaf out of the Andhra Pradesh Budget.

The 'tax free' Budget tabled by Finance Minister K Rosaiah allocates Rs 2 crore for Christian pilgrims visiting the holy sites in Israel; Rs 5 crore for mass marriages of Christians, Muslims and other minorities and Rs 5 crore for mosque and church repairs and maintenance.

All of this and the recently implemented 4 per cent quota for Muslims in government jobs might suggest that the Andhra government may have gone overboard with its attempt to appease minorities.

But the government has its own justification. "Desh main agar kisi kaum ko chote nazar se dekhane lage, to desh ke liye bhi khatra ho sakta hai (If you look down upon a community within the country, that may invite trouble for the nation)", state Minorities Welfare Minister Shabbir Ali reasons.

"Agar kisi ko insaf dilana ho, aur agar ye appeasement hai, to iska koi jawab nahi hai. (We are trying to ensure justice from all communities. If this is called appeasement, we can't help)," Ali says.

For, the government is giving the minorities what they haven't asked for. And probably, they don't even need. But it remains to be seen how much these will actually translate into votebank for the Congress.

The Opposition, naturally, is unhappy with these measures. And they blame Chief Minister YSR Reddy of going overboard with minority appeasement.

"If you give so much to Muslims and Christians, why not Hindus also?" BJP MLA Kishan Reddy asks.


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