CM is all set to make Urdu the second official language in three districts.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who severed his ties with BJP four months ago, now wants to woo the Muslim minorities and induct one of them into his Cabinet. But a relevant name for the pick eludes him.
Naidu has two vacancies in his 20 member (including himself) Cabinet after two BJP ministers, Kamineni Srinivas and Paidi Manikyala Rao, quit after the TDP-BJP break-up.
The problem that the CM is encountering is that there are no Muslim MLAs in the TDP who won in the 2014 elections. There are two Muslim MLAs in his party but they had defected from the Opposition YSR Congress—Mohammad Jaleel Khan and Chand Basha. But Naidu is not in a mood to appoint a YSR Congress rebel into the Cabinet since four such rebels have already been given Cabinet berths.
There are two Muslim MLCs, Nandyala Mohammad Farooq, who is now the chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, and Mohammad Shariff from West Godavri, a political lightweight. Though making Shariff a minister is the only reasonable option left for the CM, he is still weighing other options as he wants the Muslim minister to wield some clout among the community. There are others in the party like former MLA Mohammad Ziauddin from Guntur district, but Naidu is not sure of getting him elected to the Assembly within six months. Farooq is eager to become the minister, but Naidu might find it difficult to appoint someone from the community as the Legislative Council chairman.
Besides offering a ministerial berth, Naidu has announced a slew of sops to Muslims at a convention called “Nara Hamara, TDP Hamara” in Guntur on Tuesday. He said that the government would make Urdu as the second official language in three more coastal districts—Nellore, Guntur and Krishna, apart from four Rayala Seema districts. The government would appoint an official Qazi in all villages and urban areas where Muslim population is more than 3,000 and nominate a Muslim elder in all family counselling centres at police stations. The government would also release Rs 100 crore worth of additional funds to the AP Minorities Corporation to give more loans to Muslims and another Rs 50 crore for Muslim women groups, among others such sops.
The CM also announced that he would soon bring in a law to punish those who are involved in mob lynching and abetting such crime. He made it clear that he would never again align with the BJP which discriminates against the Muslims in the country. Naidu promised to give more representations to Muslims in his party in the coming elections. Naidu went on to showcase how he had opposed the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi after the 2002 riots and how he had prohibited the BJP CM from entering Hyderabad city during that time. Naidu dubbed both YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy and Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan as B team members of the BJP and said that a vote for either of them is a vote for the BJP. However, YSR Congress leaders lashed out at Naidu for showing love for Muslims at the fag-end of his five years term and questioned his commitment to the community. YSR Congress senior MLC Umareddy Venkateswarlu said that the CM was desperate to win back Muslim support.