Party says it will bring in reservation commensurate with their population

In an attempt to woo the minorities, particularly Muslims, and the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) and ‘Ati Dalits' (most backward Dalits) ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Congress has said it would aim at bringing in reservation for these sections commensurate with their population in government employment and educational institutions. The move is being seen as a bid to carve out a new vote combination for the Congress.

The “Nav Uttar Pradesh 2020 — Congress Party's Vision,” released by Union Law Minister and Chairman of the Manifesto Committee Salman Khursheed on Friday has accorded priority to the socially and economically backward minorities, Ati-Dalits and MBCs.

Mr. Khursheed said the document was different from the election manifesto in the sense that it contained the objectives of the party. The Minister said the achievements of the UPA-I and UPA-II governments were the basis.

New schools for the poor, the SCs, the STs, minorities and the MBCs were the other objectives the party would pursue.

To tackle “distress migration” — general secretary Rahul Gandhi was quite vocal on this issue in his election rallies — the Congress aimed to create 20 lakh new jobs for youth in five years. Besides, 1,000 skill development centres would be set up under the aegis of the ‘Uttar Pradesh Skills and Employment Mission' for training 20 lakh youths per year.

On land acquisition — another issue highlighted by the Amethi MP during his ‘padyatras' and meetings — the document said a new ‘Land Acquisition Law' would be “implemented” to ensure adequate compensation to the farmers and the landless. The Congress has promised to fast-track all the outstanding cases related to land acquisition during the Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party governments.

An infrastructure package on the lines of the Bundelkhand package of Rs. 7200 crore would be sought from the Centre for the other backward regions of Terai and Purvanchal.

Implementation of the Rs. 3000 crore package for handloom weavers approved by the UPA government, “ which will allow three lakh people in U.P. to gain access to much-needed credit,” and the setting up of State Handlooms Mission were the other objectives mentioned.

Women from backward sections and those living in rural areas would be made members of a self-help group (SHG) linked to banks within five years. A special plan for widows, including job opportunities for young widows and pension for older widows and the setting up of one all women police station in each district, were other objectives.

The Congress said it would ensure that mobile phones were made available to all rural households within two years and “every child in U.P. had access to computer education.” The party would aim for industrial revival in the State through the promotion of traditional clusters and creation of new ones. Around 40 industrial clusters would be created. Interestingly, an aviation cluster had been proposed in Amethi and Rae Bareli.

Revamp of the public distribution system, minimum eight hours of electricity to farmers, a citizens' charter in government offices and Urbanization Renewal Master Plan 2020 were part of the vision document.

Admittedly, the Congress document carried Mr. Gandhi's stamp. U.P.

Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the election manifesto would be released on January 30.

Keywords: UP polls