Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an interview with ANI on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an interview with ANI on Tuesday.Photo | ANI

Modi claims Congress 'biggest enemy' of minorities, says reservation is key issue in 2024 polls

Modi claimed that those who call themselves the biggest sympathisers of the backward communities are, in reality, their biggest enemies.

NEW DELHI: Accusing the INDIA bloc of indulging in "vote bank politics," Prime Minister Narendra Modi has criticised opposition parties for undermining the constitutional rights of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC), stating that these groups needed to be protected.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi explained why reservation had become a crucial issue in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, framing his narrative as a call to safeguard the constitutional principles and the rights of marginalised communities.

"I want to alert the SC, ST, OBC & other backward-class people because by keeping them in darkness, they (opposition) are looting them. The election is such a time that I should make the countrymen aware of the biggest crisis that is coming. Therefore, I have been explaining this to the people. The basic spirit of the Constitution of India is being violated and that too for the sake of vote bank politics. Those who call themselves well-wishers of the Dalits, Tribals, are in reality their staunch enemies...There is an imprint of the Muslim League in their manifesto. Do you want to destroy the coming generations also for the sake of the vote bank? I will fight for the rights of my Dalit, tribal, and OBC brothers and sisters. And that's why I'm fighting the battle."

Modi claimed that those who call themselves the biggest sympathisers of the backward communities are, in reality, their biggest enemies.

Accusing the opposition of converting educational institutions into minority institutions, the Prime Minister highlighted that this action ended protections for SC, ST, and OBC communities.

"They swiftly converted educational institutions into minority institutions, thereby eliminating reservations. For instance, in Delhi, Jamia Millia University was designated a minority institution, resulting in the loss of reservations, affecting both admissions and jobs. It later emerged that around 10,000 such institutions have been removed from the reach of SC, ST, and OBC protections," PM Modi said.

"They had made arrangements for it and even leveraged it for vote bank politics. When this concerning issue came to my attention, I felt it was my duty to take charge of the country," he added.

PM Modi expressed his concerns about the Congress party's stance on reservations, which became evident to him after they released their manifesto. He recounted his reaction to the manifesto, describing it as a reflection of the Muslim League's approach.

The Congress party, in its manifesto, 'Nyay Patra' released on April 5 mentioned that it will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 percent cap on reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an interview with ANI on Tuesday.
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"This manifesto gave me another shock. And that's why, when I saw the first manifesto, my first thought was that this manifesto has the imprint of Muslim League. So for two-three days, they thought that there is no need to respond to this. When they did not give any answer, that is when I started opening up one by one. For example, in this country, they say that we will also fix quota for minorities in sports. Today, children from Punjab are doing very well in the world of sports. Our youth in Bengal are doing very well in football. Our youth in Uttar Pradesh are doing very well in athletics. The youth put in so much hard work, they wake up at 4 in the morning. Congress says this will now go to the minority, so where will my hardworking young man go? What will happen to him?" PM Modi pointed out.

The Prime Minister criticised the Congress party's proposal to reserve government tenders for minorities. He explained that for critical projects, such as constructing an important bridge, the contract should go to the company with the best track record, resources, capabilities, and qualifications.

"Suppose today a very important bridge is being built... who will build the bridge? The one who has a track record, the one who has the resources, the one who has the capability, the one who can perform, the one who meets all the requirements. There is competition in that. And the one who wins the competition gets the tender. They don't say this. All this happens later. Now tell me, if in the same way, only on the basis of religion, quotas are given, that bridge will be built and people will be killed, then who will be responsible? Do you want to destroy future generations for the vote bank? So these were some topics that the Congress brought into their politics of vote bank and it is now up to me to save the rights of my OBC, SC, and ST brothers and sisters," he said.

PM Modi claimed that the atrocities committed by the opposition related to reservation came to light after the recent decision by the Calcutta High Court to cancel OBC certificates was declared.

"They have a modus operandi. First, they started the sin of giving it to minorities by making a law in Andhra Pradesh, they lost in the Supreme Court and the High Court rejected it because the Constitution does not allow it. So they cleverly started the game from the back door and these people overnight made all the castes of Muslim as OBCs and they robbed the OBCs of their rights," the PM said.

"When the High Court's judgement came, it became clear that such a big fraud was taking place. But what is even more unfortunate is that for vote bank politics, now they are also abusing the judiciary. And they are even saying that no matter what happens, we are not going to listen to the court. This situation cannot be acceptable under any circumstances," the PM added.

Six phases of the Lok Sabha elections have been completed so far and the final phase will be held on June 1 across 57 constituencies in 8 states.

The results of the elections will be declared on June 4.

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