SP woos Muslims ahead of polls in UP

Akhilesh mulling reservation for them

SP woos Muslims ahead of polls in UP

 In an apparent bid to thwart attempts by his rivals to dent his party’s Muslim vote bank ahead of next year’s assembly polls in the state, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was mulling reservation for the community in government jobs and education.

According to the sources here, the Samajwadi Party (SP) government could soon send a proposal to the centre to amend the constitution to provide 13.5% reservation to the Muslims in the state. 

The SP had promised reservation to the Muslims during previous assembly elections in UP in 2012 according to their population and the same was also included in the election manifesto of the party.

The SP government was under pressure from the muslim outfits to fulfil its election promise. A delegation of Muslim scholars had also met Akhilesh a few days back to press him on this count.

Sources in the SP said that the party was not very hopeful of the proposal being accepted by the centre. “We can only send the proposal. The final decision has to be taken by the centre,” said a senior SP leader here while speaking to Deccan Herald.

SP sources also confided that the decision was prompted by the defeats in the recently held by-polls in two assembly constituencies, where Muslims were in sizeable numbers that indicated ‘disenchantment’ of the community with the SP. The SP had lost Muzaffarnagar and Deoband assembly seats in the recent by-polls.

SP leaders were more worried over the Congress' victory in Deoband, which housed Darul Uloom, one of the most important Islamic seminaries in the country. SP leaders also admitted that a division in Muslim votes and the party’s failure to get support of the other communities resulted in losing Muzaffarnagar to BJP. What compounded the misery of the SP was the performance of Asauddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which managed to secure 17 thousand votes at Bikapur assembly seat in the by-polls.

The opposition parties however termed the move as a desperate attempt to keep the Muslim vote bank intact but doubted if it would succeed. “The people of the state are wise enough to see through the move. They will vote for development,” said BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak.

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