Discontent in Congress on the issue of Jat reservation has come to the fore with a former party spokesman saying it has sent a "wrong signal" to the Muslim community in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar riots.
"To award reservation to a particular community after massive riots in Muzaffarnagar has given a wrong signal to the people at large and Muslim community in particular," Rashid Alvi said in a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Noting that Muslims see Jats as "perpetrators" of violence in Muzaffarnagar, he said that they not only lost their family members but also their livelihood and land. He recalled that more than 50,000 have been forced to live in camps after the riots.
"Uttar Pradesh is a highly polarised polity at this juncture. The decision to award reservation to Jats not only hurts the sentiments of the Muslims but also other backward castes," he claimed. At the outset, he, however, made it clear that he was not opposed to reservation for any community per se.
He also faulted the party over the failure to turn the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill into an Act. "Passage of the bill would have showcased our commitment to our core values," he said, adding that Congress has had a long standing commitment towards secular values.
At the outset, he told Gandhi that some of the steps taken by the government recently are "detrimental" to the interests of the party when the Lok Sabha polls are just a month away.
Alvi, who was the lone leader dropped last year as party spokesman, also expressed apprehensions that some of the party leaders were "working overtime" to weaken the party and strengthen the communal forces.
Citing an instance, he said petrol prices in Delhi were hiked just a day before the polling date. Quoting media reports, he said government intended to increase the price of cooking gas by April 1.
"It will hurt us electorally. I request you that we must be on the guard from the vested interests," said Alvi.