Rattled by BSP chief Mayawati's blitzkrieg on the SC/ST quota in promotion bill, the Samajwadi Party has struck back by demanding reservation for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
The SP assessment is that both the BJP and Congress will suffer huge electoral losses in the next Lok Sabha polls and that party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will be a potential Prime Ministerial candidate of a possible third front government.
At the same time, the SP has ruled out the possibility of mid-term elections and dismissed speculations about withdrawing support to the UPA government. "The truth is that majority of MPs do not want early elections," SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said.
In an exclusive interview with HT, Yadav said the UP assembly would shortly enact a resolution demanding the introduction of a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament to provide reservation to Muslims. This will be forwarded to the central government for further action, he added.
"Unlike what happened to the Andhra Pradesh government's decision on providing reservations to Muslims (struck down by the judiciary), we do not want to go in for half measures. Reservations for Muslims can come about only though a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament", Yadav said.
Pushing for proportionate quota for Muslims is a promise made in the SP manifesto - an issue that the party wants to rake up at this juncture with the apparent aim of further rupturing the "rainbow coalition of Dalits and Muslims" that Mayawati had assiduously built in the state during her reign.
Rejecting Mayawati's suggestion to bring a separate constitutional amendment bills to provide quota in promotions to OBCs and Muslims, the SP leader said, "If we do not agree for quota in promotions for SCs/STs; how can we agree for OBCs and Muslims."
"The quota bill is flawed and unconstitutional; will not stand judicial scrutiny... Mayawati is only trying to misguide the people for vested political interests," he added. ".... the BSP chief has latched on to the quota issue as a desperate measure. This will turn out into a flop show."
"What kind of legislation is this; which seeks to promote junior officers over the heads of senior officers? ...this kind of a policy would demoralise officers."