On Saturday, 22nd of September, around 350 influential members of West Bengal’s Muslim community held a close door meeting at Kolkata. As per the reports, various demands of the Muslim community were raised at the meeting, in presence of senior leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) such as Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Derek O’Brien, Nadimul Haque and Ahmed Hasan Imran.
According to Swarajya, During the meeting, a small yet influential body named the All India Naba Chetana, voiced the demand of proportional representation of Muslims in state assembly as well as Loksabha. This is an old demand, however in recent days it seems to have gained more traction. The body’s convenor, Faruque Ahamed said that if the TMC is really serious about the welfare of Muslim community then it should secure one- third portion of Loksabha seats from Bengal as well as equal portion in state assembly, exclusively for the Muslim community.
If this demand is met with then 14 out of total 42 Loksabha seats of Bengal and 98 out of total 294 seats in State assembly, would get exclusively reserved for the Muslim community. If whispers are to be believed then several top brass leadership of TMC have no problem in accepting the demand in order to ensure, en-bloc support of the Muslim community in forthcoming elections. Currently there are 55 MLA’s from the Muslim community in West Bengal Assembly.
Qazi Fazlur Rehman, who leads the biggest Eid prayers at Red Road in Kolkata, accused the incumbent TMC government of not doing enough for the Muslim community. At the meeting he demanded time-bound actions to increase the number of Muslims in government jobs to atleast 30%. He also reminded the attendees that Mamata Banerjee Government has only fulfilled only 6 out of 12 demands of the community, which she had accepted as a condition for the community’s support, prior to 2011 elections.
However the Trinamool Congress sources claim that the Government has already included 97% of the state’s Muslim community into the OBC category. Something which many believe to be exploitation of constitutional provisions.
Moreover, Political pundits believe that the Muslim community of West Bengal, understands the current Government’s dependence on their support very well, and hence they are now putting pressure on TMC to fulfil their demands and aspirations.