Hyderabad: Taking oath on the name of Allah in chaste Urdu Mohammed Mehmood Ali, a dairy farm baron from old Hyderabad became the first Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana.
On 2nd June Telangana state has formally come into existence after a long statehood struggle. TRS president K. Chandrashekar Rao who swept the region winning 63 seats out of 119 took the oath as first chief minister of Telangana along with his 12 member cabinet.
Keeping up his election promise to Muslims of Telangana Mr. Rao allotted one of the two Deputy Chief Minister posts to party’s Muslim face Mehmood Ali. Health minister Mr. T. Rajaiah from Dalit community has also been designated as another Deputy CM.
Mr. Mehmood Ali was the first in line to take oath as cabinet minister after Mr. Chandrashekar Rao took oath as CM. Mr. Ali has been allotted Revenue Ministry along with Deputy CM designation.
Telangana Cabinet has a well calculated caste composition which includes four Reddys, a dominant land owing caste, three from BCs community which form majority of population in the new state and three from influential Velama community caste of TRS president, one is from Schedule Caste and one from Muslim community.
While all the other cabinet ministers are elected legislatures Mr. Mehmood Ali is the member of legislative council.
Mr. Ali though doesn’t have any mass base support but he joined TRS since its inception days and is considered close to TRS chief. In 2009 he contested from Secunderabad Lok Sabha but got just 30,000 votes losing his deposit. He is involved in varied businesses, the major of them are his dairy farms.
After MLC Habeeb Abdur Rehman Altaf the Muslim face of TRS quit the party in 2009 due to its NDA alliance, Mehmood Ali was handpicked and brought up by TRS chief to fill up the gap. In March 2013, he was elected to legislative council. Though TRS didn’t have numbers then, KCR negotiated with rival parties to make sure his lone Muslim face gets elected to the upper house of the state. Mr. Ali was seen on many photo ops with TRS chief tying Imam-e-Zamin on his hand before every big step Chandrashekar Rao was about to take.
Though a symbolic gesture but appointing Mr. Mehmood Ali as Deputy CM has struck the chord where it was intended. Muslims which comprises 13% of population in Telangana was getting disillusioned by TRS after Mr. Rao gave just four assembly tickets to Muslims out of which only Mr. Shakeel Aamir has registered victory from Bodhan in Nizamabad district. Appointment of Mehmood Ali has created a positive impact in Muslim community which is now seeing itself as a potential player in new Telangana Government.
TRS has made sure that it leaves no stone unturned to get Muslim community, a traditional Congress vote bank on their side. In spite of opposition from right wing BJP in the new Telangana state logo, Urdu script has been accommodated on par with Telugu. Iconic Charminar is also decorated in the emblem along with Kakatiya arch.
Mr. Mehood Ali after the decisive victory of TRS announced in the press conference that his party will keep up all its promises made to the Muslim community that includes 12% reservation in education and employment and making Urdu first official language of Telangana state along with Telugu.
For now chief minister Chandrashekar Rao has kept minority affairs ministry with himself, Mr. Shakeel lone Muslim elected MLA of TRS is likely to be made minority affairs minister in the cabinet expansion in near future.