'Reservation for minorities in panchayats'

'Reservation for minorities in panchayats'

The Centre has directed all state governments ruled by the Congress to provide reservation to minorities in panchayat bodies, according to K Rahman Khan, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs.

The states had been asked to amend their respective Panchayat Raj Act to give reservation to minorities as recommended by the Rajinder Sachar Committee, Khan told reporters here on Sunday after attending a meeting of KPCC minority leaders chaired by the AICC minority cell chairman, Khurshid Ahmed Saiyed.

So far only Andhra Pradesh had done so and steps were being taken in Karnataka in that regard, he added.

The Constitution does not provide for reservation to minorities in Parliament or state Assemblies. The Congress has not promised it either, he clarified.

The meeting was organised to find out the problems being faced by minorities in the State.  Saiyed said that though Congress was “the only party” which had been striving to empower minorities, it was a matter of concern that representation of Muslims in Parliament had come down over the years. In the 1950s and 1960s, Parliament would have about 70 Muslim MPs from the Congress but the number had come down to 20-30 now, he admitted.

Leaders from Karnataka have demanded that more minority candidates be fielded in the Lok Sabha elections in the State.

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