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UP: Samajwadi Party's manifesto woos Muslims
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 01, 2007 21:35 IST
Samajwadi Party president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav went all out on Sunday to woo Muslims, whose support is crucial to his possible return to power after the seven-phased state Assembly elections commencing later this week.
With elections commencing on April 7, Mulayam has left no stone unturned in his party manifesto to tap the state's crucial 17 percent Muslim vote.
Released at the party state headquarters in Lucknow on Sunday evening, the 31-point manifesto has as many as 12 points solely devoted to Muslims.
Ironically, the release of the manifesto coincided with the killing of a Muslim in police firing in Kanpur, barely 85 km away, earlier on Sunday.
At least two full pages of the 16-page document in Hindi were devoted to highlighting either claims of the Mulayam government about having done various things for Muslims or towards future promises being made for them .
Even though the manifesto discreetly avoids any data on the number of Muslims recruited in various jobs, including the police force, during the three-and-a-half years of Mulayam's rule, he has sought to assure the community that 'efforts would be made to ensure appropriate share in government jobs'.
Among the other highlights were 'making Urdu language job-oriented', 'special packages for artisans belonging to the minority community', 'low-interest soft loans for Muslims', 'government grant to all madrasas' and 'upgradation of all madrasas'.
Says one of the points, 'Instead of setting up police stations in Muslim-dominated localities, we will open new schools in such areas'.
The manifesto also promises a security-free loan to Muslims artists and craftsmen, besides creation of a fund to compensate Muslims for damages suffered during communal violence.
Mulayam promised 'free medicines and free treatment to the poor in all government hospitals at the district level' as also 'free education right up to the graduation level in all government educational institutions'.
He also promised to extend the government scheme for providing free shelter to all economically weaker sections in the rural areas. So far the facility was available only to Dalits.
Claiming that his government had succeeded in bringing in investments of about Rs 5000 crores in the sugar industry sector, Mulayam assured enhanced industrial growth in various other sectors too.
SP general secretary Amar Singh who was also present at the manifesto release function, claimed that the government's Information Technology policy would attract 'unprecedented investments by the sector giants' in due course.
Blaming the UPA government at the centre for 'frustrating the SP government's plans to get the Anil Ambani group to set up a giant power plant at Dadri', Singh claimed that if the Mulayam government was voted back to power, they would ensure setting up of many new power projects to produce even surplus power in the otherwise energy-starved state.