With the UP elections in mind, the BJP has indicated that it will make a big issue of the Sachar Committee report. Rejecting it, party leader Sushma Swaraj said it was “full of prejudices” and would create disharmony in society.
"Much effort has gone into it but… in the wrong direction. This report reflects a pseudo vision and is full of biases,” she said, adding that the intention of the report was to lay the ground for religious-based reservation. “Ironically, 100 hundred years after the first seed of a separate electorate for Muslims was sown in India, which ultimately led to the demand for Partition, a report has come talking of nomination for Muslims,” she said. “We are a democracy and to talk of nominations on the basis of religion is to pave the way for communal divisiveness.”
Swaraj said the proposal for not reserving seats for Scheduled Castes where there was a huge concentration of Muslims flew in the face of the work done by the Delimitation Commission and Election Commission. She blamed the Congress for the present condition of the community and criticised the absence of any women in the committee.
Congress, Left ‘vindicated’
The Congress and Left saw the findings of the report as vindication of their stand that Muslims need help. Rejecting the BJP's charge that his party was responsible for the plight of Muslims, Congress’s Abhishek Singhvi said: “Whatever has been done for the minorities, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and poor is because of the Congress.” He said the issues raised by the report were not “religion or group-specific” but part of a larger problem affecting deprived sections.
“There will be a multi-pronged approach to address the problems of Muslims,” he said, denying that the exercise was motivated by the objective of securing the Muslim vote in the polls.
The Left was more aggressive in dismissing the BJP's charge that the report would promote exclusivity. The CPI-M's Brinda Karat said the report had completely turned on its head the issue of so-called minority appeasement. “Our party is concerned. The government has now to look into specific components which are indicators of development and to which the community does not seem to have access, like education, employment, bank loans.”
The CPI wanted a special package for Muslims. Party leader Gurudas Das Gupta said the Left was against religion-based reservation but quite clearly, there was an urgent need to take steps.