Muslims disappointed with low representation in Union Cabinet

By News Desk,

New Delhi: 59 new ministers will take oath of office today which makes the size of the ministry to 79. Though Muslims had a big role in Congress victory in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, their representation in the Union ministry remains low.

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Out of 30 elected Lok Sabha MPs only five Muslims have found a place in the latest ministry.

Through an advertisement published yesterday in several leading national dailies, some Muslim leaders have tried to put pressure on the Congress. The advertisement said: “It is now admitted at all levels that Muslims voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress party and its allies in the 2009 Parliamentary elections. However, it is little surprising that there is only one Muslim included among the 20 cabinet members sworn in on 22 May.”

There should be at least 11 Muslim Ministers in the cabinet, they said and added: “This will be in keeping with Sachar Committee recommendation and in fulfillment of the commitment made by the UPA chairperson and the Prime Minister for a fair representation of minorities at all the levels.”

Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress and Farooq Abdullah of National Conference are cabinet ministers. Salman Khursheed of Congress is Ministers of State with Independent Charge while E Ahamed of IUML and Sultan Ahmed of TMC are Ministers of State.

Navaid Hamid, a member of the National Integration Council observed that both Muslims of the cabinet rank are from Kashmir. Talking to he said “with the inclusion of Kashmiri faces as also representatives of Indian Muslims, India, has shown how much importance it gives to Kashmiri leaders and gives value to Kashmir and feels it as integrated part of India.”

Of course, it can be taken in another way that Congress could not find any Muslim from rest of India.

The signatories to the advertisement published in several newspapers including The Hindu and the Indian Express are: Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, President, Zakat Foundation of India; M J Khan, President, National Economic Forum for Muslims; P A Inamdar, President, Religious and Linguistic Minorities Association; Dr Zafrul Islam Khan, Editor, Milli Gazette and Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

“We wish that all communities, especially Muslims, who are socially, educationally and economically most backward, get their due share, not only in the Govt. policies and programs but also in the Cabinet. It is the most appropriate time that the Government considers implementing the Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission recommendations in toto, which alone can make some difference in the lives of 15 crore Indian Muslims,” says M J Khan, President, National Economic Forum for Muslims and Indian Muslims’ Monitoring and Response Centre.