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Kidwai's visit ensures more representation of minorities 

Even as speculations of who would make it into the Tarun Gogoi Ministry, scheduled for an expansion "within this month", continue to do the rounds in the Assam Congress camp, the party's religious minorities bloc has successfully bargained for more representation. 

And chief minister Tarun Gogoi is left with no option but to give top priority to his legislators from the minority community while making his list of new ministers. This is all because of the observations and remarks made by AICC general secretary in charge of Assam Mohsina Kidwai during her maiden visit to the state. 

Kidwai's nomination by Sonia Gandhi in place of Kamal Nath had sent the minority community into jubilation and she did not let them down. "The minorities are significant factors in Assam. There has not been adequate representation in the present ministry. But I can say that the expansion would have more from the minorities," Kidwai said at the end of her two-day tour of the state on Sunday. 

There are 16 Muslim Congress MLAs among which two are in the ministry. The most-favoured vote bank for every political party in the state, the Jamiat Ulama, a clerics' body, apparently feels that it's time to demand the price for the service it has been giving to political parties so far by ensuring Muslim votes en masse. 

Jamiat spokesman Hafiz Bashir Ahmed said: "We want that the population pattern be reflected in elections, be it assembly, Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha." 

Prabin Kalita

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