The move gains significance after a section was reportedly disappointed that the BRS manifesto did not have any promise for minorities. The former minister was addressing a press conference in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Ali said more than 150 suggestions, including those from 15 prominent Muslim organisations, were received through online and offline modes. He added that apart from Muslims, suggestions were taken from Christians, Jains, Dalit Muslims and others. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had attended a ‘Christians Rights Meeting’ organised by Telangana Congress earlier this month.
Ali said some of the important suggestions received by the committee include an increase in minorities’ welfare budget to Rs 5,000 crore, a minorities’ sub-plan on the lines of SC, ST sub-plans, hike in budget for marriage scheme, and a separate law to stop discrimination on religious grounds among others.
The senior leader added that the previous Congress government implemented 4 per cent Muslim reservation which changed the lives of lakhs of poor Muslim families in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the last 17-18 years.
Further, several other initiatives taken by the previous Congress government for the welfare of minorities have been discontinued by the present government, he claimed. “Of 56 minority engineering and professional colleges sanctioned by the previous Congress regime, 50 colleges have been shut down by the BRS. The government is also attempting to reduce the existing 4 per cent Muslim reservation to 3 per cent. Congress will consider suggestions like granting permission to new medical, engineering and other professional colleges. The suggestion for setting up a private minority university may also be included in the declaration,” he informed.
The Congress leader said the suggestions received so far would be converted into a concise document and handed over to TPCC president A Revanth Reddy. “Rahul Gandhi may release the Minorities Declaration in the next few days,” he added.
Recently, Reddy announced that former TDP leader and influential businessman Ali Masqati would contest from Charminar in Old City. His father was a well-known leader from the MIM. With this, Congress is seen trying to make inroads into the MIM bastion. The BRS is relying on their old ally, MIM, to consolidate Muslim votes for the pink party. Earlier this month, Asaduddin Owaisi had accused Revanth of being an RSS man as he was an ABVP activist in his college days.
Meanwhile, on the second day of Vijayabheri Yatra, Rahul Gandhi met Singareni workers in Peddapally. During a 20-minute conversation, Gandhi learnt about their issues and promised to grant income tax exemptions to Singareni workers and support the growth of mines if elected to power.