Mulayam promises free water to farmers and free education to the poor

Free water would be provided to farmers and the poor would get free education and medicines if the Samajwadi Party is voted to power, party chief Mulayam Singh said at an election rally at Maurang Maidan in Barhel, Barabanki, on Sunday.

While Mr. Singh also promised more jobs and increased dole to the jobless, the ‘Muslim face' of the party, Mohammad Azam Khan, promised Muslims that the Kerala and Andhra Pradesh model of reservation would be replicated in the State. This would be done after consulting legal experts so that “it is not challenged in the apex court.”

Both leaders said the Mayawati government was the most corrupt in the State. Nothing had gone right in the last five years and atrocities and rape had become the order of the day, they alleged.

As the Samajwadi chief kicked off the party's election campaign from the backward Barabanki district, considered the bastion of the former SP leader and present Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, he spared the Congress-led UPA government. “Has anyone met the Chief Minister in the last five years,” he asked the audience.

Mr. Singh praised the former Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Despite differences, they did not commit atrocities. It was true that excesses were committed by others and both he and Mr. Khan were victims of the atrocities. Ms. Mayawati was throttling democracy and every section of society had suffered under the present regime, he said.

Mr. Singh welcomed the shifting of DGP Brij Lal and Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and lauded the Election Commission for its action. He was optimistic that polls would be held in an impartial manner.

Quota issue

Mr. Khan attacked the Congress and “Rahul baba” for “cheating” Muslims on the issue of 4.5 per cent reservation (within the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes in Central government jobs and educational institutions). When the Union Cabinet approved it, there was no mention of Muslims. Instead, the word ‘minorities' was there. The share of Muslims would be just 0.8 per cent, the Rampur MLA said.