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Cong out to woo Muslims

In an all-out effort to win Muslim support, the Congress in its manifesto for Bihar elections has promised the Karnataka pattern reservation and other sops for the community.

delhi Updated: Oct 16, 2010 23:44 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

In an all-out effort to win Muslim support, the Congress in its manifesto for Bihar elections has promised the Karnataka pattern reservation and other sops for the community.

Karnataka has declared all the Muslims as backward and given 6 per cent reservation to them. Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have 4 per cent reservation to Muslims.

In its manifesto for Bihar polls, to be released in a day or two, the party has also pledged modernisation of madrassas. These traditional institutions would be encouraged by giving financial assistance to introduce science, mathematics, social studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum.

Besides enhancing education awareness among the Muslim community, the party would also work towards strengthening all minority institutions in the state. Strong efforts would also be made for promotion of the Urdu language.

With the Muslims accounting for 16.40 per cent of Bihar’s population, the Congress, once dubbed as the party of upper castes, is banking heavily on the community for its revival in the state after more than 20 years.

Post-Ayodhya verdict, the Congress is feeling jittery and trying hard to win back the support of the Muslims who over the years had shifted their loyalties to other parties such as the RJD and the JD(U).

Having decided to go it alone in the coming assembly polls and to contest on all the 243 seats, the party has fielded record 47 Muslims this time.

Apart from these sops, the Congress has also pledged industrial development for the state and called for strong efforts to check migration to other states.

In the manifesto, the party has blamed the Nitish Kumar government for the slow pace of development and charged it with failure to implement the central government’s special schemes for the minorities in the state.

The six-phased polls in the state will begin on October 21.