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Mulayam plans to woo Muslim voters - The Economic Times

Political Bureau ()
28 October 1997

Title: Mulayam plans to woo Muslim voters
Author: Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: October 28, 1997

The rejection of Samajwadi Party chief and defence minister, Mr Mulayam
Singh Yadav's demand for the imposition of Presidents rule in Uttar Pradesh
has led SP to gather its strength and aggressively work towards
consolidating its constituency among Muslims.

As the first step towards that end, the party has decided to launch a
campaign for the release of the TADA detenues, ignoring the government's
categorical rejection of the demand more than once. The party's plan was
announced at Merit yesterday by the SP supremo himself. The decision, apart
from meant to assert the party's determination to take up causes concerning
the minorities, could also be Mr Yadav's way for getting back at the Union
home minister, Indrajit Gupta.

Mr Gupta, who vigorously opposed SP's demand for the dismissal of the
government, has also ruled out the release of any more of the TADA
detenues. Mr Gupta told the Parliament during a discussion on the matter
that after the review of the TADA cases which resulted in the review of a
large number of detenues, it is only those charged with heinous crimes who
are still being detained under the now-defunct anti-terrorism legislation.

Mr Yadav's campaign may create a dilemma for the Union home minister as the
rejection of the demand, after his opposition to dismissal of the BJP
government, for the release of the remaining TADA detenues may expose him
to the charge of coming in the way of welfare of the minority community.
Mr Yaday has already gone on air threatening to expose the members of the
Cabinet who were reluctant to prevent the BJP from forming the government
in Uttar Pradesh and people have few doubts as to who the target of the
threatened 'expose' could be.

Mr Yadav's declaration to take up the cudgels on behalf of the TADA
detenues comes amid signs that the SP along with 'like-minded' UF
constituents may go all out to consolidate their constituency among
Muslims, Yadavs and backwards. This was indicated clearly by Mr Ram Vilas
Paswan's demand, made at the same venue in Merrut, to work for the
introduction of community-based reservations for Muslims in government

Mr Paswan even declared that he would not mind quitting the membership of
the Union Cabinet if that prevented him from agitation for the demand for
job reservations for Muslims.

While this is keeping with the ideological polarisation that has come to
characterise UP's politics ever since the BJP upped the ante over
Ramjanmabhoomi issue in 1990, the anti-BJP camp is yet to decide on pooling
its resources, particularly in view of the uncertainty.

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