Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's efforts to court the All India Muslim Personal Law Board notwithstanding, the top Muslim body has unveiled a Dastoor Bachao Tehrik, a campaign to target UPA policies right in the heat of UP polls.
Gandhi had, in December 2011, met Rabe Hasan Nadvi, the head of the influential law board, which oversees application of personal shariah laws, such as those related to marriage and inheritance.
Although a host of factors determine the voting behaviour of Muslims, the law board is often an important stop for political parties seeking to court the community.
The Dastoor Bachao Tehrik, or the campaign to protect customs, will corner the UPA on key issues the law board has been raising for some time.
The campaign will be launched on January 29 in Farrukhabad, where union law minister Salman Khursheed's wife Louise Khursheed is contesting on a Congress ticket. It will then move to Rae Bareli, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi's constituency, and, later, to Sultanpur.
The Congress is likely to come under attack on the demand to exempt madrassas from the Right to Education Act.
Although human resources minister Kapil Sibal has issued a set of subsequent guidelines applicable to the Act, the law board is not satisfied. "The guideline is grossly inadequate in exempting madrassas," said Zafaryab Jilani, a senior member of the board. He said a delegation had met Khursheed to discuss their concerns, but there was no positive action.
The board has also sought changes in the proposed central waqf bill pending in the Rajya Sabha and exclusion of religious and charity institutions from the finance ministry's proposed direct taxes code.
(With inputs from Lucknow)