Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections, the Union Cabinet on Thursday evening cleared a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities, which will be carved out of the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in Central government jobs and Central educational institutions.
The decision, which would benefit all minorities listed as OBCs, will probably be notified on Thursday night.
The decision will benefit Muslims more than other minorities as there are many Muslim communities designated as OBCs.
In the 2009 elections, the Congress won 21 Lok Sabha seats in U.P., thanks to a shift in the Muslim vote from the Samajwadi Party. But with the gradual return of that vote to the SP, the Congress needed to do something to bring that vote back ahead of next year's Assembly elections.
This decision is likely to get a strong reaction from the BJP, the SP, the RJD, the JD(U) and the Bahujan Samaj Party.