India

Mayawati Wants Reservation for Minorities, Poor Upper Castes; Writes to PM

BeyondHeadlines Correspondent

Lucknow: Over the last three days, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister has dashed off a letter per day to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On Saturday, it was for granting reservations to Muslims, the next day another one followed insisting on providing quotas for the poor upper castes and on Monday Mayawati sent out another letter demanding Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation for Jats, who form a decisive vote bank in western UP.

File photo of UP CM Mayawati with Muslim leaders

Opposition leaders have slammed Mayawati for playing petty politics on cast and communal lines.

Playing the minority card, Mayawati has urged the Central government to provide reservation to minorities, especially Muslims, proportionate to their population. Her move comes soon after Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid hinted that the centre might be considering such a move itself.

Khurshid recently said the centre is contemplating reservations for Muslims by bringing some changes in the existing law. The minister also said reservations to Muslims would be given on the lines of what Andhra Pradesh had done earlier. “We will follow the Andhra Pradesh model closely,” he said.

Khurshid’s comments are being seen as an attempt to woo about 20% Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are scheduled to be held next year. Khurshid has said the OBC Commission would conduct a survey to decide the percentage of reservation to be given to Muslims.

On Sunday, Mayawati shot off a letter to the Prime Minister asking for education and job quotas for the poor among upper castes. The move is clearly designed to lure the upper castes to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Though the BSP got a sizeable section of the upper caste vote, especially Brahmins, in the 2007 Assembly election, this votebank has dwindled over the years.

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