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2005: Indian Muslim Statements
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Paswan's Repeated Suggestion for Muslim Chief Minister in Bihar

Politics of Tokenism will Hurt Long-term Interests of Muslim Community

New Delhi, 14 May, 2005: Shri Syed Shahabuddin, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), has issued the following Statement:

"The oft-repeated suggestion by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, President of Lok Janshakti Party, to install a Muslim as the Chief Minister of Bihar appears to be no more than a political gimmick on his part to secure support of the Muslim voters.

The present party position in the Assembly is such that the RJD, the biggest party (even with INC and Left support), cannot form a government, without the additional support of the LJP and the LJP is not prepared to extend this support. Shri Paswan has tried to sell his support to the JD(U) but the deal fell through. He now wants the Congress which has only 10 MLAs to form the government with the support of the RJD and the LJP and make a Muslim the Chief Minister. The deal is not likely to go through. 

Shri Paswan has no Muslim MLA in his own ranks, and there are only 24 Muslim MLAs distributed among RJD, Congress, JD(U) and independents. Obviously the ‘Muslim’ Chief Minister will only be a token, a showpiece, balanced by at least two non-Muslim Deputy Chief Ministers from the major partners. The Council of Ministers would naturally be largely non-Muslim, responsible to an Assembly which has only 10% Muslims among its members. In this situation any decision the ‘Muslim’ CM may take on any legitimate Muslim grievance will be exploited to excite anti-Muslim sentiments. Indeed this misconceived approach on the formation of government will only make it more difficult for the State Government to fulfill even the most legitimate and urgent demands of the Muslim community.

Shri Paswan’s emphasis on a Muslim Chief Minister thus serves to communalize state politics. It makes the Muslims responsible for the continued political stalemate in Bihar in the eyes of the common man and hurts their long-term interests. 

The Muslim community should reject the politics of tokenism, dissociate itself from the political gimmick and join the rest of the Bihar in demanding an honest and stable government that works and gives the people both peace and development."

Sd/- Syed Shahabuddin
D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 110 025 Phone: 2632 6780 Fax: 2632 7346
  Email: ; q


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