After forming the JDS-Congress coalition government amidst political high drama, now it is time for the coalition to confront another round of political strategies from different communities seeking representation to their communities while constituting the Cabinet. It is natural in a democratic set up. It is a social justice to ensure equal representation to each community based on its population in the administration and development. So, every community has the right to ask its share of portfolios while forming the cabinet.

Now, Lingayat and Vokkaliga (DK Shivakumar) communities have been attracting the attention in the state because of their demand of deputy chief minister post. In fact, the Lingayat leaders and community have been lobbying for this post in a big level. But the most surprising thing is there seems to be no strong demand or debate for the representation for Muslim community. A few Muslim MLAs have been demanding the positions. Apart from this, as a community, the Muslims have not placed their demand for the posts in a strong voice and it has not become a news either.

Though the Congress has no majority, it has formed the government. It is high time for the Congress high command on how to ensure justice to the Muslim community which has supported the party wholeheartedly. Even after recommending the Centre to consider Lingayat community as a separate religion in the state, Siddaramaiah did not get expected votes from that community. But the Vokkaliga community has supported the JDS in its strong bastion and in some parts, it has supported BJP. The interesting factor in this election is, the Congress has ‘lost’ the Ahinda votes from its basket. Despite a number of good programmes for the Dalits and Backward Classes and Siddaramaiah government was branded as ‘Ahinda government’, the result and voting share itself shows that the Congress has not got the votes from these two communities as it expected. But the Muslims have supported the Siddaramaiah government. Going by the result analysis and vote sharing, it is confirmed that more than 80 per cent Muslims have endorsed the government programmes and voted the Congress. This means, Muslims have played a pivotal role in Congress getting 78 seats. The Congress leadership should not forget this fact. The Congress leaders should think about ensuring natural justice to the community which supported them.

Now the Congress has seven Muslim MLAs. But both BJP and JDS have no Muslim MLAs this time. in recent years, this time the Muslim community has less number of MLAs. At this time, the Congress should not give excuses and cheat the Muslim community. Out of 22 portfolios, the Congress should give at least three posts to the community and while considering them, top portfolios like revenue, industry, health, education and others should be given. Those who were elected from Congress have all abilities to handle any portfolios. Considering the experience, previous achievements, the votes they have taken, regional representation, service to the party and opinion among people, the Congress should give cabinet ranks to minimum three members out of seven MLAs. Other minorities like Jains, Christians and others should also get their share. Social justice should not remain as a slogan, but it should be implemented effectively.

If the Muslims were cheated without doing this, the Congress will have to face the opposition from the community. Those who are against giving portfolios to Muslim community saying that Hindus would detach from the Congress, should clarify about how many  Hindu houses they have reached, how many programmes of the Siddaramaiah government they have taken to the houses of Hindus? Just making loud speeches on the stages would not help as such speeches would not convert into votes. They have to work hard to get votes. But some Congress leaders have forgotten this very simple mantra. Such leaders have raised their objection on giving more seats to Muslims.

No community should be given more seats than it deserves. But it should get the seats it deserved as a social justice. Then only, we could ensure social justice. If it is forgotten, then Muslims may think of cornering the Congress in future.

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Mumbai : The farmers' long march from Nashik to Mumbai will continue after their leaders' late night parleys with Maharashtra government to address their demands remained inconclusive, the march organisers said Thursday.

Farmers have embarked on a 180-km march from Nashik to Mumbai for the second time in the last 12 months to protest against what they termed as the "betrayal" of peasants by the BJP governments at the state and centre.

The Kisan Long March-2, expected to take over nine days to complete, is being organised by the CPI(M)-backed All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

The march could not be taken out Wednesday as police stopped many farmers from reaching Nashik, the AIKS claimed. Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan met some AIKS representatives in Nashik Wednesday night.

"We held talks with the minister for over three hours.

The government appeared positive to 80 per cent of our demands. The minister said he would speak to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis first," AIKS president Ashok Dhawale said.

Dhawale said Mahajan informed AIKS representatives that the assurances would be given in writing. "The AIKS has decided to go ahead with the march beginning Thursday morning till the government does so," he added.

Dhawale said police were also present during the meeting with Mahajan. They (police) are not going to stop the farmers now, he added.

Mahajan could not be reached for his comment.

The AIKS has accused the government of not fulfilling assurances given to farmers last year after they marched between the two cities, seeking farm loan waiver, minimum support price for crops, irrigation facilities and provision of pension to agriculturists.

The AIKS also said it is opposed to the multi-billion dollar Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project which has seen several farmers along the proposed route approach court against land acquisition.