Salman Khurshid is the cabinet minister for water resources with additional charge of minority affairs.
True to poll time, minority is a major issue. While the BJP is wooing the OBCs, the Congress is sharpening a manifesto that has something for the Muslims and most backward castes (MBCs), with a pledge to ensure a crime-free environment in the state thrown in for good measure.
The party’s central manifesto committee, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, is giving final touches to
the manifesto. Once cleared by the central panel, it will be sent back to the state manifesto committee, which is headed by union law minister Salman Khurshid.
Congress sources said the manifesto will promise 6-9% reservation for backward Muslims in Uttar Pradesh if it is voted to power in the state.
Khurshid also gave an indication about the move on Sunday while addressing an election meeting in Farrukhabad constituency from where his wife Louise Khurshid is contesting.
The Congress-led UPA government had last month announced a 4.5% share for minorities within the existing 27% reservation for other backward classes (OBCs).
To woo the MBCs, the party is promising them government jobs, education and also housing. The party might also form a panel on the pattern of the Justice Sachar committee to suggest measures for their overall development. “Congress always wants to do something for them…to improve their socio-economic conditions,” senior leader Mohan Prakash said.
For de-notified tribes, which had been branded criminal tribes by the British and continue to face the harassment even now, the party is planning special programmes.
According to sources, in the manifesto the party will target the BSP government on corruption and mis-governance. It will not spare the SP either, highlighting the law and order and poor fiscal discipline in the state during the SP rule.