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Mulayam tries to woo back Muslims

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 09, 2004 14:41 IST

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav's desire to woo back Muslims is reflected in his outfit's election manifesto, released in Lucknow on Friday.

Fifteen of the 19 promises made under the head of 'Social Change' focus largely on Muslims. They include provision for reservation in jobs, in medical and technical institutions, promotion of Urdu and its linkage with employment, programmes to remove illiteracy among Muslims and the reconstitution of the Shanti Suraksha Bal, a combat force to deal with communal riots.

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Unlike earlier when Yadav used to be categorical on the Ayodhya issue, the manifesto only makes a perfunctory mention of the party's stand on it. "We will bring an end to the chapter of injustice on Babri Masjid and Ramjanmbhoomi by implementing the judicial verdict on the issue," it says.

He skirted queries on his government's refusal to issue a fresh notification to revive the criminal proceedings against Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani for his alleged role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

A special trial court had let off Advani on account of a technical snag, which could have been rectified with a fresh notification from the government.

However, successive governments of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati as well as Yadav preferred to sit pretty on the issue.

On the other hand, Yadav, who appears to be jittery over reports of erosion of his control over the Muslim vote, has included vague promises like "non-interference in the Muslim personal law", "ensuring safety of all religious places" and "total revision of all text books in which interpolations were made with the intent of distorting historical facts about Muslims".

Mulayam also puts emphasis on "doing away with borders and passport formalities" between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The manifesto talks about rooting out corruption, improving the lot of farmers and creating more employment opportunities, but does not say how these promises will be fulfilled.

Asked why he does not agree to the opposition call for a united candidate against Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lucknow, the Samajwadi Party chief said, "No party approached me to discuss that. Yes, Mr Ram Jethmalani spoke to me two days back but I told him that now it is too late in the day and if the other parties are keen on a united nominee, why don't they support my party candidate Madhu Gupta."

He refused to have anything to do with the National Democratic Alliance's renewed tirade on the Bofors issue.

He charged the BJP of raising only "individual based", "emotive" issues.

"It is a matter of great shame that the party is busy urging people to vote for them so that they can build the temple in Ayodhya," he said. "By doing so, the Vajpayee government has undermined the stature of our country before the world community."

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Sub: mulayam jindabad

this is the height of secularism. why no newspaper calls SP as a communal party? ravi

Posted by ravi


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