Congress now backs Khurshid’s quota promise

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    New Delhi: A day after seeking to distance itself from Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s promise to provide nine percent reservation to backward Muslims in Uttar Pradesh if the party comes to power, the Congress Saturday supported the move.

    Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the Congress manifesto for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections had promised to provide reservation to minorities on the lines it had done in Andhra Pradesh.

    He said the party’s manifesto for Uttar Pradesh elections would contain the promise of increasing sub-quota for minorities in the existing quota for other backward classes (OBCs) from 4.5 percent already announced by the central government.

    “The manifesto for Uttar Pradesh elections is being prepared. We are discussing to increase the percentage and that will be in our manifesto for the elections,” he said.

    He said Khurshid called him Saturday morning and said that the percentage of reservation to be provided to backward Muslims in the OBC quota was being worked out for inclusion in the party’s manifesto.

    Alvi had Friday distanced the party from Khurshid’s sub-quota promise, which has earned the minister a notice from the Election Commission.

    “If a person makes a statement in his individual capacity, the question should be put to him,” Alvi had said in response to questions on Khurshid’s promise.

    On the poll panel decision to defer the reservation decision of central government on hold in the five poll bound states, Alvi said that any party which goes to polls will find itself in a difficult position if it does not talk about its manifesto.

    The central government had last month decided to provide 4.5 percent quota for minorities in the OBC category.

    Asked if it was proper for the law minister to announce a figure before the party’s manifesto had been released, Alvi said the figure had to be calculated.

    “I can’t say how much it would be. But Salman Khurshid is also chairman of the manifesto committee for the state,” he said.

    Asked why he distanced the party from Khurshid’s remarks Friday, Alvi said: “We do not say anything different from what we decide in our manifesto”. (IANS)