New Delhi: Congress party suffering from electoral debacles, one after the other, has called a meeting of all of its minority leaders. The meeting was called to exchange ideas on how to strengthen its relations with the Indian Muslim community.
The closed door meeting was called by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and headed by AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi talked about issues that are bothering Muslims under the current BJP rule. Among those who attended the meeting were AICC minority cell chairman Khurshid Ahmed, Oscar Fernandes and Goa state party president Luizinho Faleiro. Faleiro headed the four-member delegation from the Goa for the meeting. Also attending the meeting were MLA Alexio Reginald, St Cruz MLA Tony Fernandes and general secretary Altino Gomes.
Talking about the unique gathering, Faleiro said, “This is a new development for the Congress to hold meetings for minority leaders. It is not usual to have such a meeting but it was felt that during the current BJP rule the problems of the minorities have multiplied.”
This is a surprising shift for Gandhi who had maintained a distance from the Muslim leaders since the Antony report. The report had stated that the fall of Congress was because of its Muslim appeasement policy. But Gandhi had stated that he would not be neglecting the minorities, rather he would take care of all communities, including the minorities, when Congress comes to power.
In the meeting, the top leaders were kept at a distance and the second and third tier leaders came in close communication with Gandhi. They were given attention, and so were the younger generation of Muslim leaders.
For example, from Delhi were present Haroon Yousuf, Hasan Ahmad, Shaoib Iqbal and Chaudhry Mateen Ahmad among others. From UP were Imran Masood and Naseem Jawed among others. The leaders from Bihar included Shaki Ahmad Khan.
Top rung leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad were kept at a distance. Before the meeting, a list of all Muslim leaders of Congress was demanded by Gandhi, following which the meeting was called. The meeting was called through SMS. Interestingly, the leaders who were invited in the meeting were neither informed about the agenda of the meeting nor given any other information.
Translated from Inquilab by Nabila Habib