The Jagan Mohan Reddy government has sent mixed signals to Muslim community in the state with its mixed statements and inconsistency over NRC and CAA. The Muslim community constitute close to 7%of the state electorate who were part of core in Jagan Mohan Reddy’s unprecedented victory May 2020.
Constituting his first cabinet, Jagan Reddy took to an inclusive policy by being attentive to all castes and community group. In well appreciated move to have five deputy chief ministers representing a socially inclusive cabinet had Amzath Basha Shaik Bepari as one of deputy chief ministers.
In December 2019, the YSRCP has voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha which led to sever back lash by the minorities in the State. On December 23, 2020 speaking at a public meeting in Kadapa, Jagana Mohan Reddy along with Deputy Amazad Basha said that “the State government will not, in any circumstances, support NRC.. We will definitely oppose NRC.” After the statement, Jagan Mohan Reddy was added to the list of Chief Ministers opposing NRC.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi appreciated the move by his friend. But In third week of January 2020, Andhra Pradesh government has issued clear instructions to collectors and principal census officers of all districts against asking for any documents and insisting on details that people do not want to reveal, while carrying out the census under National Population Register (NPR) between April and September this year. Principal Secretary to government Shashi Bhushan Kumar issued these instructions through a government order in the form of frequently asked questions and answers, excepting people from submitting any documentary proof.
After this, speaking at a public meeting at Vijayawada on February 13, 2020 Asaduddin Owaisi said “NPR must be stopped. It is essential to stop NPR. NRC will not need any (independent) data. Once NPR is done, it will become NRC (automatically). Hence, from this stage in Vijayawada I request Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to impose an immediate stay on NPR.”
Speaking at Guntur on March 01, 2020, Asaduddin Owaisi has once again urged the AP CM to oppose NPR, NRC and CAA in entirety. Since the run for 2019 assembly elections, the AIMIM chief has been an explicit supporter of Jagan Mohan Reddy and both exhibited their friendship publically on numerous occasions. It is no exaggeration to say that Owaisi’s interventions have single headedly strengthened YSRCP among the Muslims community in AP.
While the supporters of YSRCP have claimed to oppose NRC and opposition has criticised YSRCP for its inconsistent stance on the issue, in reality the only instance when Jagan Mohan Reddy spoke about the issue was at Kadapa on December 23, 2020. Though the AP CM’s aids have spoken often, there has been no official statement or legislation of the sort is issued by the government of AP.
YSRCP has promised to pass a resolution opposing NRC. But the AP Assembly has not commenced since. The Chief Minister took to twitter on March 2, 2020 and said “Some of the questions proposed in the NPR are causing insecurities in the minds of minorities of my state. After elaborate consultations within our party, we have decided to request the Central Government to revert the conditions to those prevailing in 2010. To this effect, we will also introduce a resolution in the upcoming assembly session”.
The political commentators have traced Jagan Mohan Reddy’s to have taken his cue for the resolution from Telangana assembly. But it remains a fact that Jagan Mohan Reddy had never made a competence stance on the NPR, NRC and CAA, forget about opposing it even remotely.