Ended Muslim quota as it was unconstitutional: Amit Shah

Ended Muslim quota as it was unconstitutional: Amit Shah


The Karnataka government scrapped the 4% reservation given to Muslims as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not believe in appeasement politics, Union minister Amit Shah said on Sunday, describing the quota as constitutionally invalid.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the statue unveiling of 12th Century social reformer Basaveshwara and Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda in front of Vidhanasoudha, in Bengaluru, Sunday.(PTI)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the statue unveiling of 12th Century social reformer Basaveshwara and Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda in front of Vidhanasoudha, in Bengaluru, Sunday.(PTI)

On Friday, Karnataka hiked the reservation given to the Lingayat, Vokkaliga communities but scrapped a separate quota for Muslims in a politically significant move just months before high-stakes assembly elections are due.

Shah said the previous government led by Congress gave the reservation for the Muslim community for political gains. “The reservation for minorities is not Constitutionally valid. There is no provision in the Constitution to give reservation based on religion,” he said, while addressing two rallies — in Gorata village in Bidar district and Gabbur in Raichur district.

In Friday’s decision, the 4% reservation for Muslims under the OBC quota was scrapped and distributed equally among the dominant Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities.

Also Read: ‘Move ahead with PM Modi for the developement’: Amit Shah in Karnataka

Lingayats, who make up 17% of the state, and Vokkaligas, who comprise 15%, are two of Karnataka’s most powerful communities and their backing is critical across a large swathe of constituencies. The ruling BJP is looking to retain power by staving off a challenge from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

“The BJP does not believe in appeasement. So, it decided to change the reservation,” Shah said.

The state government led by HD Deve Gowda, in 1994, fixed the reservation for Muslims in the state at 4%, and an order to this effect was passed in 1995.

The state has four categories of other backward classes — 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B based on economic, social and educational status. These communities get preferential reservations in jobs and educational institutions based on the categories. The 2A category includes the most backward, followed by 2B, 3A and 3B.

Also Read: Deve Gowda appeals for support in upcoming polls in Karnataka

With Friday’s Cabinet decisions, the reservation for Vokkaligas rose from 4% to 6%, and for Lingayats from 5% to 7%.

The EWS category currently comprises Brahmins, Jains, Aryavaishyas, Nagarthas and Modaliars, which constitute around 4% of the state’s population. Now the Muslim community, which constitutes around 13% of the state’s population, will be added to this group.

However, only those people who are from families with a total annual income of less than 8 lakh, have agricultural land less than five acres in area, and a house of less than 1,000 sq ft, will be eligible for the reservation.

Addressing a public gathering after inaugurating the Gorata Martyrs’ Memorial and a statue of the country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Gorata village, Shah also accused the Congress of not remembering those who fought and sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Hyderabad from the “brutal” rule of the Nizam.


Shah also hoisted a 103ft-high Tricolour at Gorata, which is known as the “Jallianwala Bagh of South India”.

“More than 200 people were massacred here in Gorata by the brutal Nizam, but due to its appeasement policy, the Congress never remembered those who fought and sacrificed their lives for Hyderabad liberation only for its greed for vote bank,” he added.

Paying his obeisance to Sardar Patel, he said had there not been Patel, Hyderabad would not have been liberated.

Noting that the BJP never believed in “appeasement”, Shah said that the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government had renamed the erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region Kalyana Karnataka.

“Because Hyderabad Nizam ruled the region, it was called Hyderabad-Karnataka region. It is the Congress which allowed the symbols of India’s slavery to continue here, but Yediyurappa renamed it as Kalyana Karnataka,” he said.

The Congress hit back, saying that it would restore the reservation for Muslims if it is voted to power.

Terming the Karnataka government’s decision to move Muslims into the 10% EWS pool “unconstitutional”, state Congress president DK Shivakumar said “it’s the right of minorities”.

“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% to be scrapped and given to any of the major communities. They (members of the minority community) are our brothers and family members. Entire Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats are rejecting this offer,” Shivakumar said.

“We will scrap all this,” he said.

Former chief minister and leader of opposition in the state assembly, Siddaramaiah, also lashed out at the BJP government, saying it has betrayed everyone by creating confusion on the reservation issue.

“The purpose of the Constitution by Ambedkar is to provide equal protection without discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or gender. This is what Article 14 of the Constitution says. Article 15 and 16 provide for reservation in education and employment. Its aim is to give special privileges to those who are deprived of opportunities and bring them into the mainstream. It is only when the socially and educationally backward are brought into the mainstream that we can move towards the establishment of an equal society. This is clearly stated in the constitution,” Siddaramaiah said, speaking at a press conference held at the KPCC office in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Muslim community have said they will challenge the move in Court.

(With inputs from agencies)


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Sagar Biswas

Sagar Biswas

A full-time blogger who shares his point of view on a different social issue that needs to be addressed, He completed his bachelor's degree in commerce stream and likes to make the podcast

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