NEW DELHI: Upping the ante on the minority quota issue, the BJP on Wednesday said the Congress electoral promise (“of nine per cent sub-quota for backward Muslims, out of the OBC quota pie, if the Congress is voted to power in Uttar Pradesh”) could lead “to a second partition of the country”. The BJP on Wednesday fielded Uma Bharati, its star campaigner in Uttar Pradesh, to launch a scathing attack on the Congress on the quota issue.
“The nation is on the verge of another partition - this time an ideological partition. The BJP will not allow any such partition on the basis of religion,” the BJP leader said. Bharati, in her inimitable style, repeated the BJP line that by promising nine per cent sub-quota from the total OBC reservation pie, the “Congress was resorting to a dirty trick to deprive the OBCs of their legitimate rights”. She said the BJP would launch a mass movement in protest against the “Congress ploy” and raise the matter at every available platform - from streets to Parliament.
“Why are the parties, that profess to protect the rights of the OBCs, like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan SamajParty, silent on the issue,” she asked.
“The religion-based reservation cannot be allowed in a secular state. Have they (the Congress), through their actions, declared that India is a Hindu state,” Bharati asked. She reminded the Congress that our first Prime Minister “Jawaharlal Nehru, too, had argued against religion-based reservations”, and asserted that any attempt to divide the nation on religious lines would be resisted tooth and nail.
The BJP leader said the Sachar report had established that it was Gujarat where the Muslims’ socio-economic indicators “were the best”. Bharati said the BJP would also talk to Muslim community leaders asking them not to support the move as religion-based reservation went against the basic tenets of Islam (“that doesn’t recognise inequality based on caste”). “After Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has staked everything in his battle of UP, these appeasement tricks have become all the more frequent,” she alleged.