New Delhi: The tug of war between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress on claiming the votes of around 3.5 crore Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh has taken a crucial turn, bringing both the parties face to face on the issue. The pertinent question that arises is which party will provide maximum reservation to the Muslims after coming to power in the state.

Speculation is rife that the SP is preparing to counter the recent Muslim quota provided by the Congress to lure the Muslim voters. The SP is about to release its elections manifesto to clear the party’s policy on Muslims.

The SP is of the view that a fixed formula of reservation for Muslims must be developed in the same way as the reservation for Scheduled Castes is based on their population. According to the party, since the Sachar Committee had termed Muslims far lower than Dalits on educational, social and financial fronts, so they must also be considered for reservation on the basis of their population (17 percent).

On the other hand, the Congress pinning its hopes on the Muslim vote bank to win the UP polls, is said to be upset over the latest move of the Samajwadi Party.  

Congress general secretary and Uttar Pradesh in-charge Digvijay Singh accused SP chief Mulayam Singh on Saturday of misleading the Muslims by promising them 18 percent reservation other than 27 percent OBC quota in place. He said, “This requires two-third majority in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to amend the Constitution and the SP is not in that position. Therefore such promises are entirely baseless.”

Questioning the political agenda of the SP, he added, “If they are really serious regarding the reservation for Muslims, why Mulayam Singh did not do so during his regime on the lines of reservation given in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh? 

Launching scathing remark on Mulayam, Digvijay questioned his silence on RSS and his alliance with Kalyan Singh in 2009, who was the chief minister of UP during the Babri Masjid demolition.

Highlighting the achievements of the Congress, he said, “The Congress fulfilled its promise to provide 4.5 percent reservation to Muslims in jobs.”

(JPN/Bureau)