After defeat in recent assembly elections of Telangana, Andra Pradesh CM and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu vocalised his support for caste-based reservation to ‘Dalit’ Christians.
“Our government has spent Rs 250 crores for Christians in these four years. We will fight for giving the SC(Scheduled Caste) status to ‘Dalit’ Christians and till then we will support you”, Naidu said in Guntur yesterday.
He was participating in a semi-Christmas celebration and high-tea at Guntur. However, this event by CM was earlier boycotted by TDP’s leaders of the Christian cell. They alleged that Naidu has not done enough for Christians in the last four years. They were also reportedly displeased about the CM’s Christmas party being ‘hijacked’ by social welfare ministers who are not Christians.
In the event, in addition to development and welfare works, Naidu said he will also extend monetary help for the construction of churches throughout the state. He expressed gratitude to Christian missionaries, for helping school children speak ‘fluent English.’ He also pledged that his government will give ‘full economic support’ for building churches in the state.
“For Christian Bhavan, we gave two acres land and Rs 10 crores. Now, we are allotting additional six crores as per your appeals. We will provide full economic support for the construction of churches. We will give 24 December as an optional holiday. We will spend Rs 100 crores to develop burial grounds for Christians,” Naidu added to list of sops.
CM Naidu also made clear that in lieu of all these sops and fulfillment of demand for reservation, Christians must unanimously vote for TDP in upcoming elections.
Before the assembly elections, Congress Telangana unit leader Uttam Kumar Reddy had also promised sops for Dalit Christians including legislation to grant reservation in jobs for Dalit Christians and subsidised pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He had assured free education to children of pastors, priests, and Imams along with free houses.
In November, BJP President Amit Shah had slammed TRS leader and Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao for promising increased reservations in jobs and education for backward sections of the Muslim community to 12 percent from the earlier four percent. He said that BJP will never allow reservation on grounds of religion.
“I want to tell Chandrasekhar Rao, the Supreme Court has fixed 50 percent ceiling (on total reservations). If you want to provide a 12 percent reservation, from whose quota are you going to carve it out: from Dalits, tribals or OBCs. Decide this first,” Amit Shah had said.
In recent Telangana elections, Naidu’s TDP and Congress fought elections together with its allies but were completely wiped out from the state, after the whopping victory of TRS, which managed to sweep the polls winning 88 out of 119 seats. The Congress won 19 out of the 100 seats it contested. Its alliance partner, the TDP, won two seats. The other allies, the Telangana Jana Samithi TJS and Communist Party of India CPI could not win any seats.