Furfura pirzada keeps CM waiting, readies demand list for minorites
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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attempt to gain confidence of Muslim voters ahead of the panchayat polls by meeting Furfura Sharif Pirzada Taha Siddiqui seemed to have cut no ice with the leader of the minority community who once again reiterated that Mamata's claim of having fulfilled 99 per cent of what she had promised to the minorities was baseless.
"She called me yesterday at the Writers' and asked me what needed to be done for the minorities. I said I was busy with Islé Sawab (the three-day celebration at Furfura Sharif in Hooghly) and would meet her after some days," he told The Indian Express amidst meeting lakhs of devotees who thronged the shrine.
State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim dressed in an impeccable white kurta pyjama and sporting a skull cap met Siddiqui on Tuesday. He was accompanied by Housing Minister Arup Biswas.
Asked if the CM's summon was aimed at appeasing the Muslims once again before the panchayat elections, Siddiqui said, "It is but natural that politicians would look at their interest. But I will get the Muslims their rights."
Talking about what he would demand for the minorities, he said, "First I would ask for reservation for Muslims in all the fields. Reservation in jobs would not be possible if there is not enough opportunity for them in the field of education so that they are qualified enough for claiming the job reservation."
Making it clear that he was not happy with the state government's decision to give Rs 2,500 as honorarium to the imams, he said: "The amount is too less to make ends meet. It should be raised to at least Rs 10,000 a month. Later, they could be provided with medical facilities."
He also wanted the government to make proper arrangements for the devotees at the Furfura Sharif during the annual festival. "Over three million people come to Furfura Sharif in this period, and still the place remains neglected with inadequate water, toilets, light and broken roads. These problems need to be addressed," he said.
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