Last Updated: May 04, 2023, 10:36 IST
Congress is trying to mislead the Muslims of Karnataka, said chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in an exclusive interview to News18 on the BJP government’s move to remove the quota for the community, and distribute it to the dominant Lingayats and Vokkaligas.
The BJP government in Karnataka had scrapped the 4% quota to Muslims under the 2B category, and divided it to the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, which triggered conflicts between them and Hindus.
In an exclusive interview to News18, Bommai said, “The minority quota was not done on any basis – no data base, no legal sanctity was there. This was attempted in Andhra Pradesh, and it was stayed by a seven-member bench. We have given them (Muslims) security. In the poorest of the poor Muslims, there are 17 sub-castes. We have not removed them. They are there in the list… The criterion has not changed. In fact, from 4% we have given them 10%; they (Muslims) are better off. Congress is misguiding them.”
He also quoted a news article of a popular daily, which had praised the BJP government’s move to “safeguard” Muslims, and said other states such as Tamil Nadu should emulate it.
The Supreme Court had criticised the Bommai government’s decision to remove the quota for Muslims and divide it between the dominant Hindu communities ahead of the assembly elections, calling it “highly shaky” and “flawed”.
The BJP government had said it has taken historical and cultural factors in mind to give reservations to Lingayats and Vokkaligas, who account for 40% of state’s population.
The HD Deve Gowda government in 1994 had fixed the reservation for Muslims in Karnataka at 4%, and an order to this effect was passed in 1995.
With the Cabinet’s decision on March 26, 2023, the reservation for Vokkaligas rose from 4% to 6%, and for Lingayats from 5% to 7%.
At present, the EWS category comprises Brahmins, Jains, Aryavaishyas, Nagarthas and Modaliars, which constitute 4% of the state’s population. Now, the Muslim community, which constitutes 13% of the state’s population, will be added to this group.