Flaying the BJP-led Karnataka government for its decision to scrap the reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the OBC list, the Karnataka unit of the Congress unit on Sunday, 26 March, that it would restore the quota to the minority community soon after the party came to power in the state.
Assembly elections are due in Karnataka by May, with political parties’ poll preparations in full swing in the state.
The Bommai government in its last Cabinet meeting decided to take away the 4 percent reservation of religious minorities under Category 2B and split it equally between Vokkaliga and Veerashaiva-Lingayats in jobs and admissions in educational institutions.
The move was welcomed by the two politically influential communities.
The government, meanwhile, assured Muslims of accommodating them and other religious minorities into the 10 percent Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota.
‘Vokkaligas and Lingayats are not beggars’
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar termed the step “unconstitutional” while talking to reporters at the KPCC headquarters in Bengaluru on Sunday.
“They (the government) think that reservation can be distributed like a property. It’s not a property. It’s a right (of minorities),” he said.
“We don’t want their 4 percent to be scrapped and given to any of the major communities. They (members of the minority community) are our brothers and family members” he continued.
“All Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats are rejecting this offer. We are not beggars,” said Shivakumar.
Exuding confidence that the Congress would come to power in the “next 45 days”, the KPCC president said: “We will scrap all this. There is no basis to remove Muslims from the OBC list.”
Accusing the Bommai government of trying to rake up “emotional issues” as it’s set to lose the polls, Shivakumar said as party president, he wanted to declare that the first meeting of the Cabinet in the event of the Congress coming to power would take a decision to restore the quota.
‘Betrayal Janata Party’
AICC general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is in charge of Karnataka’s Congress unit, blamed the Bommai government for taking the reservation for religious minorities and recategorising the reservation categories three times in the last 90 days. “BJP stands for Betryal Janata Party in Karnataka,” said Surjewala.
He further said: “As the BJP’s political boat nosedives into the depths of defeat, the only Game Plan with the Bommai government is to ‘Cheat, Deceive and Defraud’ various communities in Karnataka. The government is committing a brazen fraud upon people in the name of reservations.”
CM Bommai has donned the role of new age “SHAKUNI” to dupe, deceive & defraud the People of #Karnataka !
BJP’s “Cheat All” Game Plan – Lingayats- Vokkaligas- SC-ST- Minorities!!
No real Reservations for anyone,
BJP only wants to serve their “420 Agenda” of divisive politics! pic.twitter.com/6vG4Lpdu6m
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 26, 2023
“In the history of India, never has a state government changed its “reservation categories” three times in the last 90 days. The idea of the government is simple: hoodwink everyone, divide everyone and pit every community against each other.”
Surjewala also said: “This is being done so that in the din and noise arising from this ‘conflict and animosity’ amongst communities seeking reservation or being denied their aspirations, people may forget the loot and scams of the BJP’s 40 percent commission sarkara (government).”
Surjewala highlighted the changes brought by the BJP-led Karnataka government in increasing quota to SCs and STs and Vokkaligas and Panchamasalis and other communities and recategorization of categories of these two influential communities in the last 90 days.
5 questions for Bommai government
Stating that the Bommai government’s decision on repeated categorisation and re-categorisation will not pass the test of Constitutionality, or the principles laid down for reservation, Surjewala asked five questions for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday.
The Modi government has stated on the floor of the parliament that the 50 percent ceiling of reservation will not be increased either in Karnataka or the rest of the country. Surjewala asked: “How will the 56 percent reservation then be implemented at all?”
The state government went ahead with categorisation and recategorisation of communities without the final report of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission.
All this has been done maliciously and deliberately by the BJP and the Bommai government so that the entire reservation issue remains embroiled in litigation and in limbo, alleged Surjewala, asking: “How will the communities then get the benefit of reservation?”
Accusing the Bommai government of deceiving Muslims, Surjewala pointed out: “The Bommai government’s alleged shifting of the Muslims minority to the EWS quota is itself unconstitutional and is an attempt to deceive the minority community.”
He added: “EWS quota is founded upon Economic Status and Income. It is not founded upon caste and religion. A member of any caste or religion would anyway be entitled to EWS reservation based on his or her economic status. How is the Bommai government then making false claims of shifting the Muslim minority to the EWS quota?”
He also the government on how it could deliver the promises it made to certain communities including SC/ST on quota hike in the midst of legal hurdles.
“The con job on reservations of the 420 Bommai government to further its manipulative politics of creating animosity, discord and conflict. They do not want to give reservations to anybody. They only want to serve their ‘420 agenda’ of divisive politics,” said Surjewala.
(With PTI inputs)