By not accepting the demand of RLD, its ally, for OBC reservation for the Jats at central level, the Congress is in danger of playing into the hands of BSP before assembly elections.
The RLD was expecting the Congress to accede to this demand in view of the Centre's announcement of 4.5% reservation for the Muslims.
UP chief minister Mayawati, who is also president of the BSP, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September 2011, supporting the demand for Jat reservation.
Now there is apprehension in the RLD that this can lead to trouble for the new alliance in western UP. The well-entrenched Jat community, with a population of approximately 3 million, has been agitating in UP for the last two years for reservation in central government jobs.
"(Their) non-inclusion could be damaging in western UP," a senior RLD leader said.
However, after the meeting of civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, also RLD president, with Union home minister P Chidambaram last week, party leaders are hopeful the issue would be resolved after elections. "Had it been done now, it would have largely helped the party," the RLD leader said.
While the RLD has over the years thrived on the Jat-Muslim support base in western UP, the BSP has been making efforts to make a dent in its ground and bring the community closer to the Jatavs, who are Dalits.
Even though the RLD and Congress are expecting electoral gains after their alliance, reports from western UP indicate there is simmering discontent in the Jat community on account of this.
In 2000, the state government, then run by the BJP, had included the Jats in the list of backward communities and later the central government did so for the community just in Rajasthan. In view of educational and social similarities of the community in both the states, the Jats of UP have been demanding inclusion in the central quota list.
The Jats had resorted to a train blockade between Lucknow and Delhi near Amroha in March 2011.
In order to win over the community, the chief minister formed three districts – Prabudha Nagar, Panchsheel Nagar and Bhim Nagar – in western UP in September 2011.