Eye on polls, Nitish govt to recognise 2,400 madarsas

Written by Santosh Singh | Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 14:52pm hrs
In an attempt to mitigate the fallout of the much-publicised photograph framing him with Naredra Modi, which also led to a temporary souring of his relations with the BJP, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has launched a damage control exercise. The first big step in this direction is the proposed recognition of 2,400 madarsas in Bihar. So far, only 1,127 madarsas have been recognised. No madarsa has been recognised in Bihar since 1994.

The chief ministers Muslim agenda in an election year is also being followed up in a big way by JD(U)'s Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar, who has called a national convention of the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (AIPMM)a forum that takes up the cause of OBC Muslims, on July 1 in Patna. Several luminaries including chief minister Nitish Kumar, World Islamic Forum (UK) chairman Mohammed Essa Maunsuri, All India Momin Conference vice chairman Maulana Junaid Ahmed Ansari and Muslim clerics and intellectuals from all across the country are likely to attend. Anwar, himself an OBC Muslim, is chairman of AIPMM.

For Anwar, the inclusion of Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste list is a priority. We will press for inclusion of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in Scheduled Castes as per the recommendations of the Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission.

Asked about the timing of the AIPMM in election year in Patna, Anwar said: It is just a sheer coincidence that it is being held in Bihar ahead of Assembly elections. Linking it with the present JD(U)-BJP row will not be fair.

Earlier, JD(U)'s national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari conceded that the JD(U) had to take a tough stand on Narendra Modi as it could not afford the undoing of its good work (for Muslims) in the last four and a half years.

With the RJD, Congress and JD(U) eyeing the 16% Muslim vote in the state, Nitish Kumar seems to be making a last ditch effort to stitch up crucial minority votes. With the Congress playing the minority card by making Mehboob Ali Qaisar state Congress chief, the JD(U) seems to be acting with an even greater sense of urgency in the matter.

Bihar Congress chief spokesperson Premchand Mishra said: The announcement of recognising madarsas after four and half years of NDA rule shows Nitishs desperation to appease Muslims after the souring of relationship with the BJP. But so long as the JD(U) is with the BJP, the minorities can see through the Bihar CMs dual political game.