Lucknow: Senior Congress leader Digvijay
Singh on Saturday accused the BJP of polarising elections in UP and
said its decision to field Uma Bharti shows its "total
bankruptcy" of leaders in the state.
However, he dismissed allegations that he was
communalising elections by raking up issues like Batla House
encounter and reservation for Muslims.
Singh, who is known to aggressively wooing the minorities
for Congress, said his party does not mind Gujarat Chief
Minister Narendra Modi campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress general secretary, who has come under fresh
attack from BJP`s Hindutva face Uma Bharti, hit out at the BJP
for fielding her in UP elections.
"I must say, that in all this one thing that comes out
clearly is that there is a total bankruptcy of leaders in
BJP`s UP unit. That is why they had to import a leader from
Madhya Pradesh.....But we don`t take her seriously," Singh
The Congress leader charged the BJP with deliberately
polarising the elections in UP as it has no issues.
In reply to a question, Singh said he "does not mind"
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi campaigning in UP.
Though Singh claimed Congress would get a clear majority
in UP, he did not rule out alliances in case there is a hung
"It all depends on the results. But we are not answering
any hypothetical questions," Singh said.
On the reservation issue, Singh, who is in the thick of
the Congress election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, insisted that
the 4.5 per cent quota within OBC quota was not religion-based
reservation but merely a sub-categorisation" to ensure that
backward sections within the minorities got their due.
"The 4.5 per cent reservation is a sub-categorisation
within OBC quota so that backwards among the minorities are
`ensured` that they get their fair share. It is not based on
religion. As it is, the backwards among the minorities are
getting reservation within the OBC quota. The 4.5 per cent
quota has been given to ensure that these backward minorities
get their due share," he said.
When asked what was the need for a separate quota within
quota if backwards among minorities were already benefitting
from OBC reservations, Singh claimed that though the backward
castes among minorities have been included within the 27 per
cent for OBCs, they have not been the real beneficiaries and
this 4.5 per cent quota would help them.
Singh denied that this decision and its timing were aimed
at winning Muslim votes. However, he agreed that since the
percentage of OBCs in other minority communities- Christians,
Parsis and Sikhs, among others- was small, the biggest
beneficiaries would be Muslims.
"The Sikhs have an OBC population but their number is
minimal," he said.
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister also justified
Law Minister Salman Kurshid`s promise of 9 per cent
reservation to minorities in place of the 4.5 per cent.
Congress had distanced itself from Kurshid`s comments,
saying these were his personal views.
"The 4.5 per cent quota within quota is for backwards
among minorities across the country. Muslims constitute 13 per
cent of the country`s population. Kurshid was talking about
minorities in Uttar Pradesh where Muslims are 18 per cent,"
Singh insisted that the over Rs 7,000 crore package given
by the Centre to weavers was not aimed at Muslims alone.
"The package is for all weavers whether in the handloom
or power loom sector," he said.
Around 95 per cent of the weavers in UP belong to the
On the Batla House encounter and his meeting with the
family members of the suspects, he said, "I have made it
abundantly clear that I had gone to Azamgarh only to ascertain
the facts. A totally secular place which did not see any
communal riots even during the Babri demolition or earlier
suddenly became so communal.... I can only promise a fair,
free and speedy trial in the case."
Asked about his reported differences with Home
Minister P Chidambaram on the issue, the Congress leader
maintained there were none.
"Chidambaram has not said he cannot ensure a free, fair
and speedy trial. That is for the courts to decide. I had only
met the Home Minister and the Law Minister to request that
special courts be set up to try these cases," Singh said.
He alleged that 26 boys had cases "slapped against them"
merely for talking to Atif, killed in the Batla House
encounter, on the phone. These boys had no criminal records,