Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, 58, said on Monday that the Congress led UPA government was planning to cut into the SC/ST/OBC quotas and provide for reservation on religious grounds.
Singh said that the Union government was planning to provide for more autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and abolish article 356, which provides for President's rule. He said such policies would usher in divisive tendencies and demanded that the Rangnath Mishra committee report recommending reservation on religious grounds should be scrapped. He said,
"It's time that we revisit the concept of minortyism. For example in several parts north east, Christians were not a minority. I think one's minority status should be reviewed at the district and state level as well as nationally."
At the luncheon meet with the media, his first since stepping down as the party president in December, Singh added, "I guess we may have food riots in the country if prices of essential commodities continued to rise like this. Even the experts are now saying the same thing."
Singh said, "The price rise is due to economic mismanagement and country's security too is at risk as the government has ordered withdrawal of about 30,000 troops from the line of control at a time when the threat from Pakistan is bigger than before. The special status given to J&K along with the plans to give even more autonomy to the state is sure to heighten security concerns."
He said, "I guess the common man wants to know the reason for the price hike. So do we. The government says its stocks of foodgrains are full. Then why are the prices rising all the while? Basmati rice which a farmer sells for Rs 20 per kg is sold in the market at nearly Rs 100 per kg. Who are those middlemen who are eating up our money, your money and contributing to price hike?"
On being asked why the government was planning to cut the SC/ST/OBC quotas, he said, "So that they could implement the Rangnath Mishra committee's recommendation to provide for reservation on religious grounds. That is preposterous. Such a reservation is unconstitiounal. The BJP would oppose the move strongly."
He said, "In 1916 in Lucknow, the Muslim League had demanded special electorate for Muslims and the Congress had agreed to it. Partition is a result of that decision. And if you read the Peerpur convention report of the Muslim League, you would find that its quite similar to the Rangnath Mishra committee report. Such reports would foster divisive tendencies among the people."
He also attacked the Congress for yielding to the US pressure in Copenhagen. Singh echoed his party president Nitin Gadkari's views on Monday stating that those who had left the party would be welcomed back only if the party's respective state units gave the go ahead for the move.
Flanked by BJP MP Lalji Tandon, 77 Singh deftly played down reports of infighting in the UP BJP and said that all the senior leaders were busy preparing a "road map" for the party's revival in his home state.
Asked if he had any message for Kalyan Singh on the eve of his birthday (January 5), Singh said, "I wish him well and I wish all those who were born on the day a very happy birthday!" Kalyan Singh is expected to launch his own party on Tuesday.