It’s raining sops & grants for Muslims in UP

By Sanchit on Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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Muslim reservation sops
LUCKNOW: Giant hoardings of politicians cutting across party lines stare down at passers-by at Hafizpur main crossing looking a tad incongruous. This kasbah, a mere 20 km off Azamgarh, is inhabited mostly by landless Muslim farmers, and everybody and his brother here is a bit baffled by the off season wooing by political heavyweights.

Within days of UP Congress incharge Digvijay Singh’s visit to Azamgarh, BSP supremo and UP CM Mayawati on Tuesday reactivated the Muslim ‘bhaichara samitis’ under Cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui. She has also made major allocations to minorities in the state budget. The sops include Rs 212 crore for special scholarships to Muslims; doubling of grant to Urdu Academy; construction of Haj houses in Ghaziabad and Lucknow, setting up of a Urdu-Persian university in Lucknow.

The alarm in Samajwadi Party is even more palpable where its boss Mulayam Singh Yadav dropped ‘Babri culprit’ Kalyan Singh and his friend Amar Singh. The humiliating defeat of his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav at Ferozabad forced him to dump the Yadav-backward-Thakur formula he had worked out with Kalyan, Amar and Co. Now he is back to being ‘‘Maulana Mulayam’’ with his skull cap and red-and-white check ‘keffiah’ (a sort of towel) in place.

As for Congress, Digvijay Singh’s Sanjarpur sojourn, during which he called for a fast track court to try the Batla House encounter accused, it was just the beginning. There’s increasing talk of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi visiting Shibli National College in Azamgarh. The party is focusing on east UP — its Achilles’ heel.