In an additional manifesto uploaded on its website, the Congress Friday said it will ensure “quota of 4.5 percent for backward Muslims in the existing OBC (Other Backward Classes) reservations”.
However, all the Muslim leaders IANS spoke to pooh-poohed the party’s latest promise as a poll sop and insufficient.
Shahid Siddiqui, editor of Nai Duniya and a former member of the Samajwadi Party, called the proposal a case of “too little, too late”.
“It has no meaning. It is a typical promise made during elections, and in this case, comes after so many phases are already over. It won’t materialise. Moreover, the party that has made the promise has hardly any credibility left among the Muslims,” said Siddiqui, who had to leave the SP after he interviewed Narendra Modi for his publication.
Siddiqui also demanded the EC should take note of the matter as it could be violative of the Model Code of Conduct and should decide upon the correct course of action to be taken.
Zafarul Islam Khan, vice-president of the Welfare Party of India, said the Congress should first implement the recommendations made in the Srikrishna Committee report which indicted several leaders of the BJP and the Shiv Sena for their role in the 1992 Mumbai riots, post the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
“A vague promise will be useless,” said Khan.
Abdul Noumani, spokesperson of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind, said the party’s promise of reservation “was an old thing. It is easy to say. The main thing is to implement it although the point is correct.” He accused the Congress of reneging on such promises in the past under pressure from right-wing forces.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said: “In some states, reservation has been done, in Andhra Pradesh, for example. If we come to power, we will take a call on it.”————IANS