Amid strong criticism by BJP over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that minorities must have the "first claim" on the resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably, the RJD on Sunday stood by him.
"The PM's speech at the NDC (National Development Council) is a welcome statement as the Muslims - be it Dalits, OBCs or in general category - have not got proper representation in government and other services", senior RJD leader and party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed Khan said in Patna.
He said the country could not progress without giving proper representation in government and private sectors to the Muslims - who constitute 13.5 per cent of the country's total population and 16.8 per cent of the population of Bihar.
Khan said even the Justice Sachar Committee in its recent report has recommended special measures for empowerment of the Muslims.
Justifying the PM's stand for the uplift of the "impoverished" community, Khan, who was also a Law Minister in Rabri Devi cabinet, said the state's NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar had scrapped the decision made by earlier RJD dispensation that all the interview boards for government jobs would have a Muslim member. He alleged the Nitish government did it under "pressure" from BJP.