‘Blatant lie’: Siddaramaiah slams PM Modi over Muslim reservation row, defends quota

“Modi’s claim that the Congress has transferred the reservation quota from backward classes and Dalits to Muslims is a blatant lie,” he said.


Published Apr 25, 2024 | 11:19 AMUpdatedApr 25, 2024 | 11:19 AM


Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, 24 April, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the Congress had “transferred” the reservation quota from backward classes to Muslims is a “blatant lie”.

He also defended 4 percent reservation for Muslims under the backward classes category in Karnataka.

“It stems from ignorance but also indicative of his desperation born from a fear of defeat. No leader in the history of our country has ever demeaned the office of the prime minister to such a low level,” Siddaramaiah said in a post on X.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the Congress has transferred the reservation quota from backward classes and Dalits to Muslims is a blatant lie,” he said.

Being in a position of responsibility, Prime Minister Modi should either substantiate these “irresponsible allegations” with evidence or “apologise to the nation”, Siddaramaiah said.

What did Modi say?

In an election rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk on Tuesday, 23 April, Prime Minister Modi said the Congress has tried to extend reservation to Muslims out of the Dalit quota, and accused the party again of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to snatch people’s wealth and distribute it among a “select” group.

“As soon as the Congress formed the government at the Centre in 2004, one of the first things it did was to reduce the SC/ST reservation in Andhra Pradesh and give it to Muslims,” Modi said.

“Between 2004 and 2010, the Congress tried to implement Muslim reservation in Andhra Pradesh four times but due to legal hurdles and the awareness of the Supreme Court, it could not fulfil its intention,” he claimed.

“In 2011, the Congress tried to implement it throughout the country. They played the game of snatching away the rights provided to the SC, ST and OBC and giving them to others for vote bank politics,” Modi had said.

Also Read: Kharge attacks PM Modi over his remarks about Congress manifesto

Siddaramaiah refutes

Siddaramaiah said, “Where has the Congress stated that it would take away reservations from backward classes and SC/STs to give them to Muslims? Which state government under the Congress has implemented such a policy? Is there any official government document related to this? Prime Minister Modi must present all these details before the nation.”

Stating that the constitutional reservations cannot be arbitrarily amended, the CM said, revisions to reservations can only be made based on reports from social and economic surveys.

“Moreover, state governments do not have the authority to modify reservations for SC/STs. Such amendments require the approval of both Houses of Parliament. The fact that a Prime Minister lacks even this basic knowledge is truly tragic for our country,” he said.

Also Read: Amit Shah holds massive roadshow in Bengaluru

Muslims included in 2B category

It’s true that in Karnataka, Muslims have been included in the ‘2B category’ for backward classes, Siddaramaiah said, pointing out that “this is not something done now”.

It has been based on the reports of the Backward Classes Commissions starting from the one headed by LG Havanur in 1974, he said, this reservation has been in place for the past three decades.

“Neither the BJP government previously in power at the state, nor the Narendra Modi-led Union Government that has been in power for the past ten years, has questioned this reservation. Moreover, no one, including the BJP, has challenged it in court,” he said.

“It appears that PM Modi has overlooked how the Basavaraj Bommai (previous BJP) government, with the sole intention of dividing votes based on religion before the last Assembly elections, attempted to arbitrarily amend the reservation and got reprimanded by the Supreme Court,” the CM said.

He further noted that the apex court has issued a stay on the decision to cancel the 4 per cent reservation for Muslims.

The Supreme Court ordered that the revised reservation should not be implemented until further notice, he said. “It is regrettable that even such important information has escaped the attention of the prime minister.”

Attack on previous BJP government

Pointing out that in Karnataka, the previous BJP government had announced an increase in the reservations for Scheduled Castes from 15 to 17 percent and for Scheduled Tribes from 3 to 5 percent, Siddaramaiah said, they also claimed to have written to the Union government about this.

“However, on March 14, 2023, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Narayana Swamy, informed the Lok Sabha that neither had such a letter been received from the state’s BJP government, nor was there any proposal to increase reservations under consideration. Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi not take note of this decision?” he asked.

Siddaramaiah further said he was eager to know the opinion of Modi’s new ally and JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda, adding that “Gowda, who once boasted of implementing the reservation for Muslims, should clarify his current stance.”

“Despite having governed for the last 10 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lack of significant achievements proves that he is a failed leader,” the CM claimed.

Also Read: Siddaramaiah stages dharna over delay in release of drought relief funds by the Union govt

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)