Ahead of phase 3 polls, Congress and BJP spar in MP over quotas, Muslim appeasement

PTI, Apr 29, 2024, 6:07 PM IST

Representative image

Bhopal: The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh on Monday indulged in a war of words over quota for Other Backward Classes ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha polls on May 7.

While the BJP claimed the Congress wants to give some part of the quota meant for SCs, STs and OBCs to Muslims, the opposition party hit back saying the ruling dispensation will change the Constitution and scrap reservations after retaining power.

“The character of BJP has always been anti-reservation. During my tenure as Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh, 27% reservation was given to OBCs. But the BJP government, which was formed after toppling the democratically elected government, conspiratorially abolished the 27 percent reservation given to OBCs in MP,” senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said on X on Monday.

The BJP was making baseless allegations on the issue against the Congress, which, after Independence, implemented the quota system and from time to time expanded its scope for the deprived communities, Nath asserted.

MP Congress chief Jitu Patwari also released a video in which he charged the BJP of wanting to change the Constitution and scrap quotas.

On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh BJP minister Prahlad Patel claimed the hidden agenda of the Congress-led INDI alliance was to snatch the rights of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs and to give them to “their favourites”.

“The Congress wants to give the share of reservation for Dalits, tribals and backward classes to Muslims. The Congress’ intention is Muslim appeasement and its opposition to the majority community has become evident to the public. This conspiracy of the opposition party will weaken the country and shatter constitutional values,” Patel had said.

The National Commission for Backward Classes was formed in 1993 but it got constitutional status only in 2018 under the Modi government and it was the Congress’ ploy (to not give constitutional status) to ensure such commissions could be formed at the state level and to allow them to work arbitrarily, Patel had alleged.

State BJP secretary Rajneesh Agrawal told PTI the Congress has attacked the social justice system by including Muslims under the other OBC list to provide them religion-based quota, adding the party wanted to implement its “Karnataka model” in the entire country and curtail the existing quota for the OBCs, SCs and STs.

Earlier on Sunday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, while addressing a function in Hyderabad, had asserted the organisation has always been supportive of reservation, and advocated for its implementation as long as “discrimination exists”.

These comments came in the wake of a viral video claiming the Sangh was against the quota system.

The Congress-led opposition has routinely claimed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP are opposed to reservation.

Polling for the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh has been scheduled in four phases between April 19 and May 13. Votes will be counted on June 4.

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