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Celebrations over a Muslim Minister in Madhya Pradesh recede after portfolio allocation

Celebrations over a Muslim Minister in Madhya Pradesh recede after portfolio allocation

Arif Aqueel, the lone Muslim inducted as a minister in Kamal Nath cabinet, has been allocated the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Gas Rahat

MP Muslim Minister Arif Aqueel

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): There were wild celebrations, more in the media than in the streets of Bhopal, on Tuesday after local MLA Arif Aqueel was inducted as a Minister in Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s cabinet. However, the celebrations in Arif Aqueel’s own constituency receded after the details of portfolio allocations were leaked in the media.

According to MP government sources, Arif Aqueel, the lone Muslim inducted as a minister in Kamal Nath cabinet, has been allocated the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Gas Rahat (Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation). But, locals in Bhopal feel that looking at the seniority and experience of Arif Aqueel he should have been given the responsibility of some other important department.

“Arif Aqueel is a senior MLA. It is his 6th successive term. But, unfortunately he is reported to have been offered the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Gas Rahat. Gas tragedy pertains to less than half of the city, which means he has to occupy a Ministry for 20-25 wards of the capital only”, Masood Khan, a Bhopal local, said.

“It is high time the trend to allocate the responsibility of Minorities Mininstry to Muslims is changed. A member of from other communities should also be given the responsibility of Minority Ministry so that they get a chance to understand the problems faced by them. Who knows they can even come out with a better solution”, he added.

Agreeing with what Masood Khan said, Nafisa, a student, cited the example of BJP leader Eknath Khadse who was made Minister of Minority Affairs in Maharashtra.

“Khadse unfortunately had later resigned from the Fadnavis cabinet. However, he had taken some important decision during his tenure as Minister of Minorities in Maharashtra. Members of the community were also happy to have a non-Muslim as the minorities minister. Khadse was also able to form a group of influential Muslim leaders who could have been used by the BJP for political advantage”, she said.

Arif Aqueel retained the Bhopal North assembly constituency for the 6th successive term defeating Fatima Rasool Siddiqui of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) by more than 45,000 votes. Arif Aqueel is one of the two Muslims who won the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections. Arif Aqueel and Arif Masood – the two Muslim MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, belong to Congress which came to power in the state after 15 years.

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