A turf war is on in the State Congress as it makes a fresh bid to woo the minorities – Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) proposes to create a separate task force to monitor in State the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities.
UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi has sent the proposal to New Delhi for approval of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.But Joshi’s move is not as simple as it seems.
It assumes significance in the backdrop of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) decision to stay all the appointments till the completion of organizational elections.
AICC had also stayed the appointment of Moid Ahmad as the new UPCC Minority Department Chairman replacing Maroof Khan.
Sonia’s intervention has brought Khan back. So UPCC and its minority department have apparently begun functioning at cross-purposes now.
Senior party functionaries call this the outcome of differences between New Delhi based party leaders who want to run the party in their own style.
But Joshi gives her own reason to create the new task force to woo the minorities to the Congress fold.
“The 15-point programme task force will work on the pattern of NREGA Task Force and other such units,” said Joshi, “We also propose to create an RTI Task Force and a PDS Task Force to monitor the Right to Information Act and the Public Distribution System in the state. The PDS task force will review the distribution of Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards.”
UPCC had respected the high command’s decision to stay the changes made in the minority and backward classes departments here, she said. The high command’s stay would however not any impact on the other changes made, she said.
Joshi proposes to hold another conference of minorities to discuss the 15-point programme at Deoband in Western Uttar Pradesh next month. A conference organised at Gorakhpur last month had evoked good response and large participation, she said. UPCC Minority Department was however kept out of the loop.
Joshi’s detractors point out that the programmes to visit Sanjarpur (Azamgarh) and Gorakhpur to woo minorities were not serving any purpose. Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid visited both the places soon after the party’s programmes and used the occasion to attack the Congress.
The turn out at his meetings was much higher than the crowd that gathered for the visits of Congress leaders, said a Congress functionary asking, “How will these visits help in strengthening the Congress.”
UPCC minority department on the other hand is pursuing a separate agenda. “We are holding divisional and district level conferences. “After Meerut next divisional conference is likely to be held in Moradabad.
The district level conferences will also begin later this month,” said Khan while speaking to Hindustan Times.