Jan 31, 2012 at 10:23pm IST

UP polls: Congress sop opera to lure voters

Lucknow: The Congress on Tuesday released its UP manifesto and promised a sub-quota for backward Muslims and even considered one for backward Dalits. This is a move to counter freebies offered by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP).

And the target vote is very clear. Muslims and Most Backward Castes or the MBCs. After promising 4.5 per cent of the 27 per cent Mandal Quota to the Muslims, the Congress in its manifesto promised to carve out a sub-quota for MBC if it is voted to power. The mascot and ideom of the strategy is Sam Pitroda.

ALSO SEE Congress releases UP poll manifesto, plays quota card

Congress' new OBC face Sam Pitroda said, "I am a carpenter's son. I'll always be one. I was born into my caste but I'm saying if I can do what I did, anyone can."

In a do-or-die battle for UP, the Congress is also promising many freebees.

The party promised free electricity connection to Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.

Free uniforms and books to primary school students and one lakh rupees to girls who complete high school.

The Congress has also promised 20 lakh jobs in the next five years.

A doable list says Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed. "Let people promise cows, laptops and tablets. We are promising only what we can deliver."

The reference here is to the BJP and the SP who have promised the moon to the voters. From free electricity and laptops to even free cows.

In the great electoral bazaar of Uttar Pradesh, the consumer that is the voter has never had it this good - atleast on paper. No free television sets or mixer grinders like in Tamil Nadu.

The 12 crore voters in UP are being offered more progressive things like PCs and tablets. Only no one seems to talking about how these sops will be funded in a state with debt burden of Rs two lakh crores.

Congress Manifesto for UP Elections 2012 (English)

Congress Manifesto for UP Elections 2012 (Hindi)