BJP threatens stir against 15% quota for Muslims

via IANS published on July 5, 2010

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday threatened to launch a mass agitation if the central government implemented the Ranganath Mishra Commission report which recommended 15 percent reservation for Muslims in education and government employment.

“We will launch a massive agitation if the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government implements the commission’s recommendations as it would deprive the other backward classes (OBCs) of reservation in jobs and educational institutions,” BJP president Nitin Gadkari said here.

Addressing a massive convention of backward classes, organised by the state unit of the party at the Bangalore Palace grounds here, Gadkari said the report smacked of vote bank politics of the Congress.

“The report deserves to be thrown into the dustbin as its recommendations will only further divide the people and deny the backward classes their right to education and jobs,” Gadkari asserted.

The report, which was submitted to the prime minister on May 22, 2007, also recommended the inclusion of Muslims and Christian Dalits in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list.

The National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities was headed by former chief justice of India and Law Commission member Tahir Mahmood.

Terming the report as a curse on India’s pluralistic society, Gadkari said one of its recommendation were to reserve 8.4 percent out of the existing 27% OBC quota for minorities.

“If the 27 percent quota for OBCs is diluted, what happens to social justice for the deprived sections of society?” Gadkari asked, drawing applause from about 5,000 people who participated in the convention.

The commission was set up by the first UPA government in 2005 to suggest the criterion for identifying the socially and economically backward among religious and linguistic minorities.

Reiterating Gadkari’s stand on the report, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the party would not allow the UPA government to rob the OBCs of their legitimate right to 27 percent quota for jobs in government services and seats in educational institutions.

“Even Jawaharlal Nehru opposed reservation to converted SCs and Scheduled Tribes (STs),” Chouhan recalled, addressing the convention.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa declared that his government would allocate Rs.1,000 crore for the welfare of the backward classes in the next fiscal’s budget as against Rs.640 crore allotted in this fiscal’s budget.

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