Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh PTI Photo

Congress tried to introduce religion-based census in armed forces: Rajnath Singh attacks party over Sachar Committee report

Defence Minister raises concerns over Congress' proposal for reservation for religious minorities, says 'will not bode well' if extended to armed forces.

VISAKHAPATNAM: Amid the furore around wealth redistribution, an idea Congress leader Rahul Gandhi allegedly said would be followed up on and implemented if his party was voted to power; Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said previous Congress governments at the Centre tried to create a division in the country's armed forces by recommending a 'religious census'.

Addressing an election campaign at Vishakhapatnam on Wednesday, the Union Defence Minister said, "The Sachar Committee, which was formed by the Congress government, recommended a religion-based census in the armed forces in 2006. The Congress, in its manifesto (for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections), has also hinted at a reservation for religious minorities if they are elected. If they introduce reservations for religious minorities and extend the idea to the armed forces, it wouldn't bode well for the country's unity and integrity of the country."

"What worries me more is that whatever the Congress has put in its manifesto in the name of minority welfare has echoes of the ideas and recommendations in the Sachar Committee report," the Union Defence Minister said.

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In a scathing attack on the Congress over its 'appeasement' politics, he said the grand old party was trying to introduce a 'religion-based reservation' through the back door, adding that appeasement shows the 'real face' of the Congress.

"The Congress, through its manifesto, was subtly trying to bring back the idea of reservation on grounds of religion into the political and electoral discourse. However, PM Modi exposed their face because of which he is facing such brickbats from the Congress," Rajnath added.

"The promises that the Congress has made in its manifesto stand to divide our society. Sections 3 and 6, under the Minorities Chapter in their manifesto, bare their real intentions. This is a party that divided the country on religious lines and has appeasement in its DNA," the Union Defence Minister stated further.

The 'Rangnath Mishra Commission' and 'Sacchar Commission' were put together under the previous Congress-led UPA at the Centre, with the sole purpose of according a special treatment to a particular community in the name of minority welfare, the Union Minister said.

"I remember when (former) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said minorities, especially Muslims, have the first right to the country's resources. And when Modi-ji reminded the Congress of the statement by the former PM, they got furious," Rajnath added.

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The previous Congress government in undivided Andhra Pradesh set up a 'communal laboratory' by giving reservations to Muslims in government jobs, Rajnath alleged, adding that it amounted to a blatant disregard of the ideas enshrined in the Constitution.

"From 2004 to 2014, the Congress government made five attempts to introduce Muslim reservation but the Supreme Court and the laws of land prevented them from advancing their agenda," he added.

On the chief of Congress' overseas chapter, Sam Pitroda calling for discussions on the introduction of an 'inheritance tax' in the country on the lines of the US, the Union Defence Minister said the grand old party should clarify whether it wants to impose such a levy.

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