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Mamta new messiah of Muslims
|Is the consistent effort of Union Railway Minister Mamata Banneji to attract Muslims to her party going to bear any fruits? Yes, if one goes by the enthusiastic response she is receiving from the second largest majority community of the country. Mamata is emerging as the new messiah of Muslims after Mulayam Sigh Yadav and Laloo Yadav in recent times since Muslims divorced the Congress Party in the wake of the Babri demolition and the country-wide riots in which the police played spectators if not actively participated.
Mamata said in a press conference in Calcutta that left parties have only exploited the Muslims in West Bengal. She added that Muslims make more than 26 percent of the total population of the state, but only two percent have been given government jobs in the state.
The union railway minister has promised reservation for minorities both in education and in government jobs if she comes to power in West Bengal, the main bastion of her Trinamul Party. She has also promised to give 50 percent reservation to Muslims in Calcutta Municipal Corporation jobs. She is also likely to make similar demands for reservation for Muslims at the centre alongwith the Telugu Desam Party, the second largest party of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.
The two alliance partners are getting closer in view of their common opposition to several issues including the new anti-terrorism bill which is likely to rock the current winter session of Parliament. The opposition has charged the centre with attempting to reintroduce TADA in the garb of the new bill. There is widespread resentment among minority groups about TADA which has been widely misused by the government at the centre and states. Thousands of Muslims were put behind bars without any trial in courts of law across the country. Despite the fact that TADA was scrapped years ago, thousands of detainees are still languishing in jails. If Mamata stands up against the proposed bill she is sure to get many supporters among Muslims.
The Trinamul Congress leadership wants to make inroads among the Muslims, particularly the Urdu speaking sections, in view of the party's poor show in the areas dominated by them in the last municipal elections. Though her connection with the BJP is still a deterrence for Muslims to come to her whole-heartedly, her sincerity and her proximity to the grass-roots level workers is sure to get her good response from the Muslims in the state and elsewhere. A number of local Muslim leaders have joined Mamata Banerji in recent times. The disgruntled elements in Congress and left parties are sure to join her in the days to come.