The grand success of Congress public meeting at Khilwat Grounds on Friday night is a proof that the party has emerged as an alternate to Mim in the Old City of Hyderabad, said Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy.
"It was the first massive public meeting organised by the Congress party in the Old City in recent times. Let me admit that we never thought of venturing into those areas due to our strategic alliance with the Mim. We had left those areas for Mim in the past on the assumption that it would cater to needs of people more independently. But later we realised that instead of serving those people, the Mim leaders were exploiting the poor Muslims for personal gains. Shockingly, they aligned with the BJP and other communal forces while targeting the Congress party which nourished them at all stages. Their communal approach tarnished the image of entire Old City and people of that region were facing discrimination just for their residential address. We want to stop it and Friday's meeting at Khilwat Grounds was the first steps towards achieving the goal," Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
The TPCC chief informed that the Congress party ventured into the Old City after conducting a thorough survey of needs, lacking and aspirations of people living there. It was not a mere political approach aimed at winning a few seats in GHMC elections. "We collected feedback from all the areas of Old City on the living conditions and difficulties being faced by people. We were shocked to learn that several areas in Old City lacked access to basic civic amenities and other needs like quality education and health. While elected representatives in other parts of the country fear their voters, the Old City residents were living in a stage of fear. With an aim to put an end to the politics of fear, intimidation and discrimination, we started doing ground work in those areas and got tremendous response," he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the Muslim community was being openly cheated by Mim and TRS. "Congress party provided 5% Muslims reservation in 2004 in just 56 days after coming to power. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had promised to give 12% Muslim reservation in four months after coming to power. Almost 19 months have passed and today KCR is not even willing to speak about it. Mim is not willing to open its mouth on this issue. Similarly, not an inch of encroached Wakf land has been restored. No other core issues concerning Muslim community has been addressed by TRS Government. Instead of having a confrontation, Mim is sitting idle just to please its new ally TRS. Most shockingly, Mim did not protest when five Muslim youth were killed in an encounter at Alair. While TRS Government instilled fear among Muslims by doing this encounter, with its silence, the Mim has openly conveyed that it does not stand guarantee to the safety of community in the State," he said.
The TPCC chief also slammed the TRS Government for cheating the Muslims with tall claims on their welfare. He said only Rs. 438 Crore out of Rs. 1030 Crore allocated in the budget for 2014-15 for Minorities Welfare were spent. Almost Rs. 592 crore or 58% allocated amount was not even released. Just to divert attention, KCR distributed some goodies worth about Rs. 20 crore during Ramzan. This is an open cheating. Similarly, this year too, not even 40% of Rs. 1100 Crore allocated for Minorities welfare have been spent so far, he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Congress party would further strengthen its base in the Old City areas and continue its awareness campaign even after the GHMC elections.