VIJAYAWADA: TD president and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s announcement of the 17-member politburo on Saturday has drawn criticism from Muslim members in the party for not including at least one member from the community in the highest decision making body of the party.
Muslims comprise 10 per cent of Andhra Pradesh’s population and the community is feeling slighted at not being included in the politburo.
A Muslim TD leader said, “We extended our full support to the party in the Nandyal bypoll but once again we have been ignored. Mr Naidu has selected the Legislative Council chairman from the Muslim community but it would have been satisfying if he had considered at least one person from our community for the politburo.”
TD had also faced severe criticism during the Nandyal bypolls. One of the most voiced criticisms was that TD had ignored Muslims for long but had suddenly started wooing them during the campaign. The party that had ignored Mr N.M.D Farooq suddenly appointed him as Council chairman. Mr S. Md Nouman was made Urdu Academy chairman in an effort to lure the Muslim community.
Right from the beginning, the TD has been in the eye of the storm as far as Muslims are concerned. The party fielded only one Muslim candidate in the 2014 Assembly elections, and he lost. Consequently there was no representation for Muslims in the Cabinet.
Two Muslim MLAs, Mr Jaleel Khan and Mr Attar Chand Basha, defected to the TD subsequently, but neither was considering in the Cabinet rejig that took place later.
A TD Muslim leader said, “The politburo is the highest decision making body of the party and we are not a part of it. We have been consistently ignored and this is distressing and we feel that we have been insulted. It also appears that the party wants to please the BJP. If the community understands these strategies of the TD, it will not harbor well for the party and in fact will have a negative impact.”
Asked about this, TD politburo member and minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy said the TD was not ignoring Muslims. “We have accorded the third highest protocol position of Legislative Council chairman to N.M.D. Farooq which is next to that of the Governor and the Chief Minister. Mr Md Shareef has been placed in the central committee as general secretary. It is not correct to say that the TD is ignoring the minorities.”
Mr Reddy also mentioned about filling up Wakf Board, Haj Committee and Urdu Academy chairman posts. He also pointed out that Muslims were prioritised in welfare schemes like the Dulhan Scheme where Rs 50,000 is provided to married women.