“Siddaramaiah must clarify…” Amit Shah questions Congress promise to increase Muslim reservation in Karnataka

8 May, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Amit Shah National

Reservation within reservation done with a lot of thought…Before the end of campaigning for Karnataka elections.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah slammed the Congress on Monday for promising to restore quotas for Muslims in Karnataka and talking about increasing quotas to 6%, saying the party should clarify whether it will cut benefits for SCs, STs, Lingayats, or Vokkaligas.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Shah stated that Siddaramaiah should clarify who will lose reservations if Congress increases the reservation for Muslims from 4% to 6%. He stated that the Congress leader should make the party’s position clear before the Karnataka election campaign concludes on Monday.

“Reservation within reservation done with a lot of thought…Before the end of campaigning for Karnataka elections, Siddaramaiah must clarify that if Congress increases the reservation for Muslims from 4 percent to 6 percent, whose reservation would they decrease – OBCs, SCs or STs or Lingayats, or Vokkaligas?” Shah asked.

The BJP government in Karnataka, according to Shah, has ended 4% reservation for Muslims because it is “unconstitutional.”

“There is no provision for reservation on the basis of religion in our Constitution. Congress had given Muslim reservations to consolidate the vote bank under the appeasement policy which we have revoked,” he said.

K Rahman Khan, a Congress leader and former Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, told the media that if the party wins power in Karnataka, Muslim reservation could be increased from 4% to 6%. Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, said the Congress is committed “to increasing the reservation limit from 50 percent to 75 percent and extend reservation to all castes based on their population”.

Former minister Tanveer Sait condemned the BJP government’s decision to scrap the 2B category of reservation for Muslims, saying that if Congress returns to power in the upcoming elections, he will restore the quota for the community. Sait claimed that the BJP government treats Muslims as “second-class citizens” and engages in vendetta politics against the community.

According to a March 25 report in The Hindu, Sait stated that the Ravi Varma Commission recommended increasing reservations from “the current 4% to 6% due to the community’s backwardness.” He accused the BJP of pursuing an exclusionary policy towards certain communities.

In March of this year, the Karnataka government decided to scrap the 4% quota for minorities and replace it with the existing quotas for the state’s two dominant communities. The BJP-led government abolished the 4% OBC reservation for Muslims and replaced it with Veerashaiva-Lingayats and Vokkaligas. It also decided to move OBC Muslims into the 10% Economically Weaker Section (EWS).

In its election manifesto, Congress pledged to restore the 4% Muslim reservation provided by the Congress government, which was eliminated by the Basavaraj Bommai government ahead of the elections. According to Shah, the BJP will form the government with an absolute majority and is eager to “form a double-engine government.”

“I have visited all parts of Karnataka. The enthusiasm, inclination, and support have increased in all areas. There is enthusiasm to form a double-engine government here. PM Modi’s popularity is tremendous which will convert to votes. It is clearly visible that the BJP will form its government with full majority,” he said.

In response to the BJP’s list of candidates, which includes over 50 new faces, Shah stated that the party makes changes every time. “We have done this time too. Giving chances to the youth has been a trend in the BJP and we have given special attention to this.” Karnataka will hold assembly elections on May 10 and vote counting will take place on May 13.

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