Cong to retain sub-quota hike in poll manifesto

Putting to rest the flip flop in the party over minority quota issue, the Congress on Saturday said its manifesto for Uttar Pradesh elections will promise to increase sub-quota for the community members from the existing 4.5 per cent.

The party, however, chose not to disclose how much increase in the minority sub-quota it was planning to promise in its poll manifesto.

“The manifesto for Uttar Pradesh elections is being readied. We are discussing to increase this (minority sub-quota) percentage (from the current 4.5 per cent) and that will be in our manfiesto for UP elections,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said here.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid had recently kicked off a controversy by promising to enhance the sub-quota for OBC Muslims in Uttar Pradesh by 9 per cent. This also prompted the Election Commission to serve a notice on him.

Seeking to distance the party from Khurshid’s poll promise, Alvi on Friday dubbed the minister’s statement as his “individual view”.

Changing his stand on the issue on Saturday, however, the Congress spokesperson said the party, in its 2009 Lok Sabha election manifesto, had promised to provide reservation to OBC Muslims on the lines it had done in Andhra Pradesh.

He maintained that Khurshid called him in the morning and clarified that he had not mentioned any definitive figure of 9 per cent but talked about it being between 8 to 9 per cent and that too will become part of poll manifesto after calculations.

“It (extent of minority sub quota enhancement) has to be calculated. I can’t say how much it would be. But Salman Khurshid is also the chairman of the manifiesto committee for the state,” he said.

On the Election Commission banning implementation of 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities in the OBC category in poll-bound states, Alvi said there should not have been any such ban imposed on the Centre’s decision as it was taken prior to the announcement of polls.

“Though the EC has put the reservation decision on hold, we are of the view that any party which goes to polls will find itself in a difficult position if it does not talk about its manifesto,” he said.

The Centre had last month decided to provide 4.5 per cent quota for minorities in the OBC category.

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