A chink in the UP government's latest move to guarantee Muslim votes could end up alienating the community instead.
The state cabinet recently decided to earmark for the Muslims 20% of the funds in the 85 welfare schemes across the state. The pre-poll promise, however, holds true only for areas where the Muslim population is at least 25% — 12 districts in all. This means that other, larger and politically sensitive Muslim constituencies will remain unaddressed.
So for instance, of the 19.33% Muslim population in the state, a majority live in Rohilkhand and parts of west UP. While some of the districts in the two regions will benefit from the government's largesse, because of the Cabinet stipulation, districts in key areas such as Poorvanchal, central UP and Bundelkhand will not be able to avail of it.
This lopsided munificence was not what the SP had planned. But in its rush to borrow freely from the Prime Minister's 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities, it had forgotten to factor in the political ramifications of blindly emulating the same.
According to the central government's guidelines "the term substantial minority population in the 15-point programme applies to districts/sub-districts where 25% of the total population belongs to minority community".
SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhury said the issue would be brought to the notice of the CM. He also said the "shortcomings in the scheme would be reviewed for its wider reach".
Quick to sniff out rivals' follies, BSP president Mayawati has pointed out that the SP had promised in its election manifesto reservations to the Muslims in proportion to their population.
"Even after more than one and a half years, no measure had been taken by the state government in this connection," she said.