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2 BJP states win PM's praise

Two BJP-governed states — Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh — have raised eyebrows for robustly implementing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s key measures for minorities, which are overseen by the minority affairs ministry.

delhi Updated: Aug 29, 2010 01:01 IST
Zia Haq

Two BJP-governed states — Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh — have raised eyebrows for robustly implementing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s key measures for minorities, which are overseen by the minority affairs ministry.

In a Cabinet appraisal, chaired by Singh on Thursday to review the PM’s 15-point national plan for minorities, Gujarat was found to have put in place “standard operating procedures” to prevent and take action during communal riots, along with nine other states.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has kicked in efficiency in governance and also roped in actor Amitabh Bachchan as state brand ambassador. Many view these steps as Modi’s efforts to correct his negative image in the aftermath of the 2002 riots.

BJP-ruled Karnataka, prone to communal tension, too has implemented the procedures, as has Goa. However, most Congress-ruled states, such as Maharashtra have not, barring Haryana. Maharashtra’s Nanded and Malegoan remain flashpoints for sectarian clashes.

Madhya Pradesh, a BJP-ruled state, has earned a good rating for implementing a Central initiative to “modernise” madrassas.

“The PM had called for quantifiable evidence on minority welfare. He expressed happiness over the minority affairs ministry’s steps to implement his 15-point programme for minorities,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

The “standard operating procedures” are aimed at both preventing and swiftly controlling riots by laying down a chain of specific commands to various local authorities.

Not everyone thinks this is incredible. “In Gujarat, a distinction has to be made between paper work and ground work. Minorities there remain vulnerable,” said human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi, who works extensively in the state.

Madhya Pradesh has been steadily upgrading madrassas under the ‘The Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrassas (SPQEM)'.

Bringing in the changes

1. BJP-ruled Karnataka too has implemented the procedures

2. Except Haryana, most Congress-ruled states, such as Maharashtra have not done so

3. Madhya Pradesh, also a BJP-ruled state, has done a good job in implemention of a Central scheme to modernise madrassas

4. HRD ministry has cleared proposals worth R28.90 cr for 932 madrasas in three states: UP (R20.19 crore), Jharkhand (R4.97 cr) and Tripura (R3.74 cr)