Lucknow: In a move that is designed to assuage the feelings of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, the Akhilesh Yadav government is preparing to send a resolution to the Centre, urging it to amend the Constitution and make way for 13.5 per cent reservation for Muslims.
In its 2012 election manifesto, the Samajwadi Party had promised to give reservation to Muslims in proportion to their population. The Muslim population in the state is an estimated 20 per cent.
The state government had also announced a 20 per cent share for Muslims in all developmental schemes but the proposal did not translate into reality.
The Samajwadi Party has been facing criticism on this issue and rival political leaders are accusing the ruling party of betraying the faith of Muslim minorities.
In the proposal that is being sent to the Centre, the government has borrowed from the findings of the Ranganath Misra Commission and the Sachar Commission, both of which point towards the backwardness of Muslim minorities in the country.
Significantly the 50 per cent limit of reservation, as directed by the Supreme Court, has already been met and an amendment to the constitution would be needed to grant reservation to Muslims.
Political analysts feel that this is a move that not yield any substantial returns and the only purpose is to appease Muslims.
“Amending the constitution on this issue will have far reaching ramifications and will open the proverbial Pandora’s Box for the Central government. The SP government knows that this cannot be done but is only trying to tell the Muslims that it is concerned about their interests and it is the Modi-led government which is not allowing this,” said a senior political analyst.
Muslims, particularly the educated ones, are not taken in by the move. “This has come at a time when there are a few months left for the polls and constitutional amendment cannot take place at such a short notice,” said Dr Khalid Masood, a degree-college teacher in Allahabad.
If the Samajwadi Party was sincere on this issue, why did it wait for the election to move the proposal? It is clear that the ruling party wants to play the blame game with the BJP on this issue but Muslims are not going to get conned this time,” said Dr Khalid Masood, a degree-college teacher in Allahabad.
(This story originally appeared in the Asian Age as may the case be)...