DK Shivakumar | Photo: ANI
Bengaluru: Flaying the BJP-led Karnataka government for its decision to scrap reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the OBC list, the Congress declared on Sunday that it would restore the quota to the minority community in the event of the party coming to power in the State, where Assembly elections are due by May.
The Cabinet meeting on Friday also decided to split this quantum (four per cent) equally between Vokkaliga and Veerashaiva-Lingayats at two per each in jobs and admissions in educational institutions, which was welcomed by the two politically influential communities.
The government moved Muslims into the 10 per cent Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) pool.
President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) D K Shivakumar termed the step "unconstitutional"
"They (the government) think that reservation can be distributed like a property. It's not a property. It's a right (of minorities)", he told reporters here. "We don't want their four per cent to be scrapped and given to any of the major communities. They ((members of the minority community) are our brothers and family members".
"Entire Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats are rejecting this offer," Shivakumar claimed.
Exuding confidence that the Congress party will come to power in the "next 45 days", he said: "we will scrap all this" and added that there is no basis to remove Muslims from the OBC list.
Charging the Basavaraj Bommai-government with trying to rake up "emotional issues" as it's set to lose the polls, Shivakumar said as party president, he wants to declare that the first meeting of the Cabinet, in the event of Congress coming to power, would take a decision to restore the quota.
A Congress statement said the complete taking away of the decades-old reservation for Muslim minorities of four per cent has caused great consternation and a sense of injustice in the minority community.
It alleged that shifting of Muslims to the EWS quota is per se unconstitutional and is an attempt to deceive the minority community.
"EWS quota is founded upon economic status and income. It is not based upon caste or religion. A member of any caste or religion would anyway be entitled to EWS reservation based on his or her economic status," the party said. "How is the (Basavaraj) Bommai government then making false claims of shifting Muslim minority to EWS quota?"