Congress hits back at MIM over communal charge
Two days after Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) withdrew support to the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, the ruling party Wednesday hit back by condemning the allegations that it has joined hands with communal forces.
The Congress demanded the MIM to withdraw the "baseless" allegations and hoped it would reconsider its decision on support to the state government.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana said it was improper on the part of the MIM to level such allegations while withdrawing support to the government.
Claiming that the Congress alone could protect secularism, Satyanarayana found fault with the MIM for using a minor and sensitive issue to target the government headed by Kiran Kumar Reddy.
The MIM, which has seven members in the 295-member assembly, Monday withdrew support after a canopy was allowed to be erected at a temple abutting the historic Charminar.
Defending the government's action, Botsa said it was allowed only to implement the court order to maintain status quo as on Oct 30.
Listing out the measures taken by the Congress government for welfare of Muslims, including reservation in jobs and education, scholarship to students, and increase in budget allocation for minorities from Rs.30 crore to Rs.500 crore, the Congress state chief wondered how his party suddenly became "communal" for the MIM.
"What wrong has the Congress done to minorities or to MIM?" asked Botsa, who is also a cabinet minister.
He claimed that whenever communal riots took place, the government acted swiftly to control the situation and paid compensation to the victims.
Referring to MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's remark that Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy was his friend and YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is his friend, Botsa said it was obvious why the MIM took the decision to pull back support.
"While MIM is free to choose its ally, it is not proper on its part to accuse the Congress of colluding with the BJP or other communal forces," he said.
Former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir took strong exception to Owaisi's statement that the Congress would be wiped out.
"No power can eliminate Congress party," Shabbir said and reminded Owaisi that the MIM candidate got the post of the Greater Hyderabad mayor thanks to the reservation provided to the Muslims by the Congress state government.