Nothing new in Centre's minority scheme: Maha Cong

The Congress in Maharashtra said on Wednesday the Centre's minority outreach programme was an attempt by the BJP to wear the "mask of inclusiveness" and sought to know why Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has not yet reacted to the move.

Addressing a press conference here, state Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant said previous governments, too, had taken several important decisions regarding welfare and upliftment of minorities and there was nothing new in the Modi government's initiative.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said Tuesday the Centre will provide several scholarships such as pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means to 5 crore students from minority communities in the next five years.

The outreach programme also includes modernisation of madrasas (Islamic schools).

"The new decision is nothing but the repackaging of the old schemes," Sawant added.

He claimed Fadnavis had opposed the erstwhile Congress -NCP government's decision to modernise madrasas in the state when he was in the opposition.

"Fadnavis, who never misses an opportunity to laud any initiative of the Modi government, is surprisingly quiet on the decision of the Centre regarding modernisation of madrasas and educational welfare of minority students," he said.

Sawant said when the Congress-NCP government had taken some decisions in 2013 regarding madrasa modernisation with a budget of Rs 10 crore, Fadnavis, then the state BJP president had opposed the move, calling it unconstitutional and an attempt at appeasement of the minority community.

Fadnavis had also demanded that religious education imparted in madrasas be stopped, the Congress spokesman said.

Accusing the BJP of spreading hatred, Sawant said the Centre's decision on educational welfare of minorities was nothing but an attempt by the ruling party to cover its "real face".

"A majority of Hindus are secular and liberal and the BJP wants to hide its real face regarding minorities before the majority community under the mask of inclusiveness," he claimed.

Under the Centre's programme, madrasa teachers across the country will be trained by various institutions in mainstream subjects such as Hindi, English, maths, science and computer so that they can impart mainstream education to their students. 

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