Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a convention organised by the minority wing of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) became a platform for minority community leaders, including elected representatives, to ask for more benefits.

Increased allocation, 15 per cent quota in nominations to boards and corporations, fielding Muslims from four Lok Sabha constituencies in the State and Christians from two, and removal of government surety clause for loans up to Rs. 1 lakh were among the demands that were raised at the convention.

Shantinagar MLA N.A. Haris expressed displeasure over the government not having set aside even 1 per cent of the total budget allocation for minority development. “We form 15 per cent of the population, yet we don’t even have 1 per cent of the budget allocated for us. We don’t want petty loans of Rs. 10,000 for autorickshaws and roadside vegetable shops. Please give adequate education grants for our children. We also request the government to nominate a member from the minority community to the Karnataka Public Service Commission,” he said. “The community should also get one more representative in the State Cabinet,” he said.

‘Claim your rights’

KPCC president G. Parameshwara called upon minority community members to claim their rights with authority. “You need not beg. Unless you claim, you will not be considered fit even for 1 per cent of the budgetary allocation. The Congress is your house. Keep it safe and strong,” he said.

Mr. Parameshwara criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for accusing the Congress of corruption. “Mr. Modi you are nonexistent and are one of the aspirants for the Prime Minister’s post like H.D. Deve Gowda, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh, among others.

The former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief dismissed the demand by some party leaders that more youngsters should be given ticket to contest elections. “It is not enough to just get ticket. You should have the ability to win. And for that you need the love and affection of the people,” he said.

He expressed displeasure over Chief Minister Siddaramaiah not attending the convention.

State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad called upon his community to strive to make AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister.

KPCC minority wing leaders Naseer Ahmed and H.B. Chand Pasha and Ministers K.J. George and U.T. Khader and Qamarul Islam spoke.

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