W Bengal to follow Notorious Kerala Model of 12% Muslim quota

published on February 2, 2010

W Bengal to go in for 12% Muslim quota

Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

In bid to regain minority base, it will follow Kerala model

Alarmed by the erosion of its ‘minority’ support base, the CPI(M)-led West Bengal Government is all set to adopt the Kerala model of 12 per cent Muslim reservation in education and Government jobs.

Seniors party leaders in Delhi said the Central leadership has given green signal to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to extend the reservation to the OBC Muslims.

The matter will come up for discussion in the three-day party central committee meeting that starts on Thursday in Kolkata.

The Kerala model of Muslim reservation excludes the creamy layer in line with the Mandal Commission. The Kerala model offers 12 per cent reservation in education and jobs, with an exception that class IV Muslim employees will get ten per cent quota.

The internal composition of sub classes in Muslim community is totally different in both the States. Party leaders pointed out that in Kerala, Muslims were classified into two sections, based on north-south regions and the State Government had submitted an affidavit before the court declaring both equally backward. This ensured that almost the entire community was treated as OBC and entitled to the benefit of reservation.

CPI(M) leaders pointed out that the situation is different in West Bengal with nearly six sub sections in Muslim community. This will make the State Government’s task difficult to extend the reservation to the entire community, excluding creamy layer, to reap political benefits in the crucial election to Assembly in mid-2011.

The Left leadership has always tried to project West Bengal as a Communist model of casteless secular society, but the rout in the Lok Sabha elections has put pressure on it to appease the Muslims, who comprise 26 per cent of the population.

According to senior leaders, the proposed Kerala model reservation to Muslim community would not face legal hurdles as it would be within the present constitutional ceiling of maximum 50 per cent reservation to all sections of society.

The three-day-long central committee will be followed by Wednesday’s politburo meeting. The party leadership is unanimous in convening the next Party Congress early in next January or first week of February as Kerala and West Bengal go to Assembly elections by April-May 2011. Kerala may host the Party Congress, though there are suggestions to convene it in Karnataka.

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