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Mamata announces sops for minorities in Bengal

March 14, 2012 20:38 IST

Announcing sops for minorities ahead of the panchayat elections next year in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that her government has ordered a survey for ensuring job reservation for Muslims and would also bring a bill for 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats.

Referring to the 10 per cent quota the previous Left Front government had announced for Other Backward Classes in the community, she said, "the survey has been ordered as the reservation will have to be made legal. What the previous government did in this matter has no legal basis."

Banerjee who was addressing a government programme here said that she wanted employment banks to be set up for Muslim boys and girls.

Stating that government was giving affiliation to 16,000 madrasas in the state, she said two of these would be in Nandigram.

"Although the state government cannot provide financial grants to these madrasas, affiliating them would enable them to get grants under various central schemes.

The chief minister said her government has given 20 acre of land to the Alia university.

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had in February 2010 announced the OBC quota for Muslims, acting on the recommendations of the Justice Ranganath Mishra commission.

The shift in the minority vote away from the Left Front and towards the Trinamool Congress is one of the reasons for the electoral reverses suffered by the Left parties in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal as well as in the state assembly polls which saw the Trinamool Congress scoring a landslide victory.

Banerjee was in Nandigram to mark the fifth death anniversary of 14 people who had died in police firing on this day in 2007.

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