As elections draw near, it’s Delhi chalo for Muslims | delhi | Hindustan Times
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As elections draw near, it’s Delhi chalo for Muslims

delhi Updated: Jan 29, 2009 00:29 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times
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Various Muslim organisations have lined up a slew of political rallies in Delhi on key issues, most notably job reservation. A dozen more are still being planned. These, experts said, are “familiar exercises” aimed at engaging political parties ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

The countrywide ‘Political Awareness Caravan’ rolled out by the All-India Milli Council will converge on the Capital on January 31 with an expected one lakh participants. It will highlight issues like access to justice, jobs and security of Muslims, its organisers said.

At another event on Thursday, nearly 2,000 residents of Azamgarh — the so-called nursery of terror — will arrive by a specially booked train to protest alleged harassment in the name of tackling terror.

At least two meets will focus on the demand for job reservations for backward Muslims and tabling of the Rangathan Mishra Commission report. The commission, apart from the Sachar report, was ordered by the UPA government and talks of 10 per cent reservation for Muslims on the basis on economic status but hasn’t been made public yet.

According to experts, these poll-time exercises help Muslims co-opt political parties to see who best would reflect their demands in their manifestoes.

“Obviously, such mobilisations by minorities become significant ahead of elections because that’s where the dicey votes are,” professor Atiya Habeeb Kidwai of JNU’s Centre for the Study of Regional Development said.

“It’s time to take stock. The UPA government has not yet tabled the Ranganath Mishra report despite assurances in its Common Minimum Programme,” said Q.S.R. Illyasi, one of the organisers of the National Convention on Muslim Reservation on February 1.

The Muslim OBC Organisation (MOO), headquartered in Maharashtra, will too demand tabling of the Ranganath Mishra report on Thursday, its national resource person Qari Mohd Mian Mazhari told HT.

Many of these organisations are already more or less politically aligned. Prominent UPA ministers like Ram Vilas Paswan and Lalu Prasad Yadav are among those invited to the national conclave on reservation. The MOO is said to be close to NCP chief Sharad Pawar and one of their speakers is NCP general secretary D.P.Tripathi.

Manzoor Alam of the Milli Council, however, said the political caravan’s mission was to sensitise voters to keep NDA out and vote for secular candidates. Milli Council had backed the Congress in the recent Delhi and Rajasthan elections.