NDA partners BJP and JD(U) on Tuesday stepped up their offensive against the UPA Government on the issue of reservations for Muslims.
With several ministers of the Manmohan Singh government speaking out in favour of a quota for the minority community, both these parties have sensed an opportunity for political gain by addressing their constituencies.
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav lashed out at the government saying that those who were against reservations for the OBCs, SCs and STs were in the forefront of the demand for Muslim quota as they were out to demolish the very basis on which the policy of reservation was conceived.
“Reservation is not an anti-poverty measure. It has nothing to do with the economic advancement of the beneficiary classes. It is a policy of positive discrimination to offset the discrimination that is institutionalised in the caste system.That is why the only criterion of reservation is caste,” he stated.
Pointing out that the backward among Muslims were already getting the benefit under the OBC quota, Yadav demanded that the Dalit Muslims and Christians be clubbed with the SCs to give them a similar benefit.
He attacked the Sachar Committee for suggesting reservation for Muslims on the basis of backwardness. The Sachar Committee is not competent to declare any class as backward.Only the National Commission of backward classes can decide which class of citizens is backward,” Yadav asserted.
He also demanded that the next census should be a caste census to clear all confusion on the backward caste population in India.
Meanwhile , BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad described the UPA ministers’ demand for Muslims reservations as unconstitutional.He pointed out that the Constitution (Scheduled Caste ) Order 1950, which specifies the scheduled castes for different states, clearly stated that “no person who professes a religion different from Hindu (Sikh or Buddhist) shall be deemed to be members of the scheduled caste.”
The present chorus of demand for religion based reservations was dangerous and had far-reaching implications for the integrity of the country, he said.