Contention over UCC could sway UP polls

PTI10_13_2016_000089A Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind President Maulana Syed Arshad Madani with Syed Mohammad Wali Rahmani, General Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and other members during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday | PTI

The debate over implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) could be a big influence in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The beneficiary of this debate is likely to be the BJP, who may use it to garner influence in the majority community.

The accusations levelled by the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and some other outfits, who opposed the law commission’s questionnaire on UCC and claimed that the government was waging a “war” against the community, may have the potential to polarize the electorate in Uttar Pradesh.

The commission is conducting a survey on the issue, which has led to opposition from various quarters.

Defending the move, BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said the commission was considering the opinion of all stakeholders, following which it will form a “considered opinion” and present it in front of the Supreme Court.

“Now it is for the AIMPLB to consider whether they want to be a part of the stakeholders. If they are misinformed, I cannot do much about it,” he said.

Singh also referred to some international declarations and countries like Turkey, Iran and Indonesia, saying they changed the law to ensure gender equality. He said it was a move towards building a progressive society.

Sources said the BJP may raise the issue during the polls, along with the surgical strikes, to show government’s resolve with regard to contentious topics. The UCC is also a part of the BJP’s manifesto.

Senior Congress leader and former law minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily said that it would be difficult to implement UCC in a country like India where various communities and groups are governed by personal laws.

“In a country like India, implementation of UCC is next to impossible,” he said adding that no one should take it as a communal agenda or a hindu versus muslim issue. He said that 200-300 personal laws existed in India, covering various communities.

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