‘BJP never believed in religion-based reservation’: Shah

Bagalkote: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday defended the BJP government’s decision in Karnataka of scrapping the four per cent quota for Muslims saying the party never believed in ‘religion-based reservation’.

The former BJP chief also took a dig at Congress for its stand that the quota would be restored if it is voted to power in the state after the May 10 Assembly polls.

“There was a religion-based reservation of four per cent for Muslims. Without falling for the vote bank politics, the BJP government abolished the Muslim reservation,” he said addressing a public meeting at Terdal in this district.

“We believe that religion-based reservation should not happen,” Shah opined.

The Minister added that after abolishing Muslim reservation, the BJP government increased the reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Vokkaligas and Lingayats.

Referring to the Basavaraj Bommai government’s decision to increase the SC reservation from 15 per cent to 17 per cent, Shah noted that the internal reservation of SC (Left) now stands at six per cent, SC (Right)- 5.5 per cent and other SCs 5.5 per cent.

Responding to Congress president D K Shivakumar who has promised to restore the Muslim reservation if his party comes to power, Shah sought to know whose quota the party will scrap if it manages to form the government in Karnataka.

“Whose reservation will be decreased if four per cent reservation for Muslims is restored? Will it be Vokkaligas or Lingayat, Dalits, Scheduled Tribes or the Other Backward Castes?” the Minister asked.

At the fag end of its term, the BJP government decided to abolish the four per cent reservation for Muslims under the 2-B category.

The four per cent was later split into two and distributed among Vokkaligas in the 2-C category and Lingayats in the 2-D category.

Vokkaligas and Lingayats are the two major dominant communities of Karnataka.

Shah’s statement came on a day when the Supreme Court directed that the state government’s decision of scrapping the quota for Muslims will not be implemented till May 9.