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Mamata Banerjee brushes aside allegations of appeasing Muslims at the cost of Hindus

Thursday, 19 June 2014 - 6:10pm IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI

Defending sops for backward Muslims, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday brushed aside allegations that her government was appeasing them ignoring the interests of Hindus.

"Some are saying that we are only giving stress for (development) of the minorities and not for Hindus. You should have the eyes to see the overall development," she said, adding that state government was also renovating the house of Swami Vivekananda.

Stating that she had heard questions being raised about the state government was giving sops to Muslims, she asked "Why shall I not do it? Certainly I will do it. I will do so for whoever is needy. "If you want to develop a community another community needs to come forward. Some people only to try to create communal divide," she said.

"Our aim is to see that our brothers and sisters pursue their studies properly, receive training and get jobs. And, those who cannot get jobs, can start businesses by taking loans from the government," she said.
She was speaking at a state government programme for distribution of loans and scholarships and other benefits for minority welfare at the Netaji Indoor stadium here.

Her government would not allow any attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims and create riots which would be strongly dealt with, she said.

Stating that her government had provided scholarships to more Muslim students as compared to the previous Left Front regime, Banerjee said the state government had decided to give more bicycles to Muslim girls in the coming days.

The sops given at the programme include pre-matric scholarships, ranging between Rs 1000 and Rs 10000, a mobile library containing 5000 books and laptops for Madrasa toppers.

The chief minister said 'bhavans' would be set up in the districts from where they would get assistance required.

West Bengal Minorities Development and Finance Corporation Chairman Abu Ayesh Mondal told PTI that total beneficiaries out of distribution of loans, scholarships and other benefits stood at 4,25,759 and funds spent amounted to Rs 115.34 crore of which Rs 1 crore was distributed by the chief minister.

Banerjee's aggressive courting of Muslims with her government granting allowance to 30,000 imams in the state, and announcing sops like employment and scholarships helped her in consolidating her minority vote base in the Lok Sabha polls.

The TMC won 34 out of the 42 seats with a 39.4% vote share, the Congress 4 seats with a 9% vote share and the Left registered its worst performance since Independence winning two seats with a 23% vote share.

The 28% Muslim vote share in the state, considered the route to power, helped Banerjee.

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