‘Better late than never’ is how the EC’s last minute reaction to the UPA government’s Muslim quota plan can be aptly applauded.  After dealing a fatal blow to Mayawati’s jumbos, the Election Commission spoiled the broth for the Congress when it sprang to action to put a stop to the implementation of the UPA government’s ambitious plan to provide a 4.5 percent sub-quota for minorities within the 27 percent quota for Other Backward Castes in the Central government jobs and educational institutions in the five poll bound states. It is an open secret that the Congress motive behind declaring this quota just ahead of the Assembly elections was to make hay while the sun shines. Aiming to woo the Muslim vote-bank, the Congress’ strategy went for a toss when the EC put a stoppage on the implementation of the quota. The EC order had become all the more important as the Congress was busy reaping benefits in the poll bound states specially Uttar Pradesh by propagating the Muslim quota issue. Surprisingly, it was none other than Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid who the fired the reservation topic during an election meeting in UP stating that the quota would be further increased if the Congress came to power in the state. Not stopping at this, he even retaliated to the EC’s order with mockery. He scoffed at the EC saying that the notice generated by the election body is not a death rope and didn’t hesitate to state that the Commission is not aware of the basic principles of election. Amidst all these allegations against the EC he kept on defending the speech made by him during his wife’s rally who is also a Legislative Assembly candidate. In this speech he had mentioned about giving 9 percent reservation to the Muslim community. In his reply to the EC notice, Khurshid said that minority quota exists in the Congress manifesto released in 2009 for the Lok Sabha polls and that he has only quoted the manifesto.

But if the Congress is so committed to the Muslim reservation issue listed in its 2009 election manifesto then why did it restrict itself to declaring only 4.5 percent sub-quota to the minorities just few hours prior to the announcement of the EC’s Assembly election program? Was this done keeping in mind the strategy to reap maximum political benefits for the party by promising 9 percent quota to the Muslims? Salman Khurshid also justified his 9 percent reservation policy for the Muslims on the account that nearly 18 percent of the population is Muslim. This implies, he wants that the quota granted to the communities coming under reserved categories should be half of the population of that particular community. The EC’s move is a welcome step which has sent a strong signal across the political parties and has taught a lesson to the Congress and the Central government.