Rahul Gandhi woos Muslims with quota promise

Muslim ReservationUttar Pradesh, December 11, 2011: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Saturday tried to woo Uttar Pradesh’s Muslim population ahead of the 2012 assembly elections by assuring them that a new reservation policy would soon be in place for them.

“We will keep our commitment of providing reservation to minorities in the state,” Gandhi told a gathering of party office-bearers at the state Congress headquarters here.

“We will do it soon,” he declared amidst applause.

Gandhi is on a two-day visit to the state capital to interact with party functionaries as well as candidates handpicked for the forthcoming polls.

“You must understand that the Congress was getting back to the main arena of elections in the state after a gap of nearly two decades; we were virtually out of the political battleground between 1991 and 2007, after which we got down to re-building the party from a scratch,” he said in a reminder of his active involvement in state affairs in 2007.

He called upon party members to work hard for victory in 2012. “If you all take a vow and have the determination to win the coming election in Uttar Pradesh, I am sure nothing can stop you from attaining your goal,” he said.

Gandhi also warned against infighting. “We must fight the election unitedly,” he said.

“Let it be very clear that action would be taken against those who fail to work together – no matter how high and mighty the person be, he would not be spared,” he said.

He described the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) as the potential opponents and dismissed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a spent force.

“Successive governments of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were largely responsible for the rampant corruption and crime in the state, so we have to go all out to fight them,” he said.

Criticising the opposition parties’ objection to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, he said: “We wanted to bring in FDI as a solution to the unabated price rise; but the entire opposition – the BSP, the BJP and the SP – joined hands to stall the move.”

Gandhi would be in Lucknow till Sunday evening before returning to Delhi. He would be back in Uttar Pradesh for a five-day mass contact programme commencing Dec 13.

Demand for Muslim quota gathering momentum in UP


Demand MuslimUttar Pradesh, December 11, 2011: Giving a new twist to the ‘letter politics’ between Chief Minister and Prime Minister over reservation to Muslims, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh declared that if his party comes to power in UP it would give reservation to dalit Muslims akin to dalit Hindus.

“If Congress comes to power in UP our government will give reservation to dalit Muslims,” Singh said while speaking in Dalit Muslim Reservation Convention held at Jyotiba Phule Park here on Sunday.

He said the state governments have the right to give reservation to religious minority. The states like Kerala, Karnataka and Andhara Pradesh have given reservation to Muslims. “Our Government in UP would take a leaf out of these states and introduce reservation for Muslims in UP,” he said.

Mayawati and Dr Mamohan Singh had recently exchanged letters over giving reservation of religious minority – especially Muslims. Prime Minister has clarified that Union Government has no right to introduce reservation for Muslims but states can do if they desire so.

The demand of giving reservation to Muslims is gaining ground in wake of forthcoming assembly elections in UP. It is believed that Union Government might introduce reservation of Muslims within OBC and this declaration could be made before UP elections.

“Dalit Hindus are enjoying the benefits of reservations through article 341 but Dalit Muslims are deprived of it, which is complete injustice with them. This issue will be resolved soon,” he said.

Singh said Congress was committed for welfare of Muslims and therefore the party had mentioned in its Lok Sabha manifesto about implementation of Sachar Committee’s recommendations.

Also present on the occasion, renowned social activist, Teesta Setalvad lashed out the politicians not considering this issue of Social Justice.
She said that today all went to Anti-corruption movement taking place at Jantar-Mantar in New Delhi but none of them came for being part of this cause. This issue of reservation is much bigger than corruption issue.
“The central government has not shown their interest for the betterment of Muslims, that’s why they were not serious about implementation of recommendations made by Sachar Committee, amendment in article 341 and several other issues including security,” she added.

She told that several riots which took place since independence were the root cause for the backwardness of Muslims, yet no strong step was taken over the issue. The central government has prepared the draft of Communal Violence Bill but not presenting it in parliament for discussion, it should be tabled as security is also major concern for Muslims. “After the discussion on bill begins, it will reveal the true face of all those political leaders who call themselves secular,” she said.

Later, President of All India United Muslim Morcha, Dr MA Siddiqui handed over a memorandum to Digvijay Singh addressing Prime Minister.
“We have been agitating since past 18 years for reservations of Dalit Muslims and Christians due to which National Minority Commission, Constitution Review Commission, Sachar Committee and other commissions recommended for the reservations.

“Not only commissions but in year 2000 Bihar’s Legislative assembly and legislative council, in year 2006 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Andhra Pradesh’s Government in year 2009, after passing proposal for reservation of dalit Muslims has sent to Central Government,” he added.
– faisal fareed

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