The political row over sub-quota for backward Muslims escalated on Wednesday with BJP targeting the Congress saying it was trying to divide the country and bring a "second partition", a comment dismissed as "highly deplorable".
Congress hit back at BJP over its remarks on reservation for Muslims, accusing the opposition party of spreading "communal poison" in the country."
Terming religion-based quota for Muslims as a "dirty gameplan" of the Congress to divide the nation again, firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti said it will oppose any such move by launching a nation-wide mass movement.
"The nation is on the verge of a second partition--this time an ideological partition. The BJP will not allow any such partition on the basis of religion," she told reporters.
Bharti's remarks came against the backdrop of Union law minister Salman Khurshid's comments that the Congress would increase the Muslim sub-quota to 9% from the existing 4.5% if the party was voted to power in Uttar Pradesh.
Charging the Congress with playing "dirty politics" for petty political gains in Uttar Pradesh, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said, "The sole purpose behind this dirty politics is the OBC vote bank and the target is Uttar Pradesh."
Bharti came under attack from Congress for her talk of another partition.
"It is highly deplorable and condemnable that even the thought and phraseology of second partition would enter political discourse. Those who are talking of mental partition stand exposed of their true face," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
BJP is spreading communal poison in the society and it is injecting poison in Indian political system, he said.
"Instead of levelling allegations against Congress, they should look within to see what has been their role in spreading communalism in the country since 1947," he added.