New Delhi, Jan. 29: Holding the Congress responsible for backwardness of the Muslims the across the country, the Bihar government said the launch of the National Wakf Development Corporation Limited today is “a gimmick by the UPA government” to appease the community ahead of upcoming general elections.
Nonetheless, minority affairs minister Shahid Ali Khan, who represented the state at the event, demanded Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre for revival of the wakf board in the state, saying that the UPA government would have to do it to prove that it was “serious in its intention”.
“It is the Congress that has been ruling at the Centre for most of the years since Independence and the condition of Muslim population at large is there for everybody to see. Now just ahead of election, they have come up with bait. It is nothing but eyewash. If they are really serious, they should financially revive the wakf boards in most of the states. For Bihar, we are demanding Rs 1,000 crore,” he said on the sidelines of the event at Vigyan Bhavan.
The minister added: “The Shia & Sunni Wakf Board has hundreds of acres of land in almost every district in Bihar but we cannot utilise that because of shortage of funds. If we get money, we can monetise the non-movable properties by commercially using them. The profit money can in turn be used for welfare of Muslims in our state. The model code of conduct before the general elections will come into play in about two months from now and therefore the government should take some quick steps if it means business.”
Many, however, pointed out that this anger could also be a result of Congress’s decision to ally with Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which seems set to have managed forging a “secular” alliance in Bihar, pipping the ruling JD(U) even as Nitish had been sending out feelers to the Congress.
The UPA government has projected the corporation as a new central public sector enterprise under the minority affairs ministry that will work towards the development of the 4.9 lakh waqf properties in India, the largest in the world. The revenue generated from the assets would be used to benefit the Muslim community.