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With an eye on the coming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and three other states, the UPA regime tonight approved 4.5% reservation for the minorities within the 27% quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It will take effect from January 01, 2012. The move is expected to benefit the students belonging to the minority communities in getting admission in top institutions, like the IITs, IIMs and AIIMS. The castes/communities of the minorities, which are included in the central list of OBCs notified state-wise from time to time by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would be covered under this sub-quota. The suggestions for reservation for the minorities had been made by the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities. The government obviously raced against time to beat the model code of conduct that will soon come into force in the election-bound states once the dates for the polls are announced. The election schedule is expected to be declared anytime now. The Congress is wooing the Muslims in UP desperately to the party fold and hopes to cash in on the decision taken tonight. In recent months, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has undertaken whirlwind tours of the state, particularly the constituencies in which the Muslims have a sizeable presence. In the 2007 Assembly elections in UP, a major chunk of the Muslim population had deserted the Samajwadi Party and sent 22 Congress MLAs to the House. The controversial issue of Muslim reservation has been in constant limelight with the Congress leaders continuously indicating that the government was serious about the issue.
Courtesy: The Tribune
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