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"Siddaramaiah must clarify..." Amit Shah questions Congress' promise to increase Muslim reservation in Karnataka

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday slammed Congress over its promise to restore quota for Muslims in Karnataka and talking of an increase in quota to six per cent and said that the party should make it clear if it will slash the benefits of SCs, STs, Lingayats or Vokkaligas.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Shah said Siddaramaiah should clarify that if Congress increases the reservation for Muslims from 4 per cent to 6 per cent, then whose reservation it will cut down. He said the Congress leader should make the party's stand clear before the campaign for Karnataka polls ends on Monday.

"Reservation within reservation done with a lot of thought...Before the end of campaigning for Karnataka elections, Siddaramaiah must clarify that if Congress increases the reservation for Muslims from 4 per cent to 6 per cent, whose reservation would they decrease - OBCs, or SCs or STs or Lingayats, or Vokkaligas?" Shah asked.

Shah said the BJP government in Karnataka had ended four per cent reservation for Muslims as it is "unconstitutional".
"There is no provision for reservation on the basis of religion in our Constitution. Congress had given Muslim reservations to consolidate the vote bank under the appeasement policy which we have revoked," he said.

Congress leader and former Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha K Rahman Khan had told the media that if the party comes to power in Karnataka, Muslim reservation can be increased from 4 per cent to 6 per cent.

Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, said the Congress is committed "to increasing the reservation limit from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and extend reservation to all castes based on their population".

Condemning the BJP government's decision to scrap 2B category of reservation for Muslims, former minister Tanveer Sait said if Congress returns to power in the coming elections and it restore the quota for the community.
Sait had alleged BJP government considers Muslims as "second-class citizens" and is pursuing vendetta politics against the community.

According to a report in The Hindu on March 25, Sait said that the Ravi Varma Commission had recommended an increase of reservations from "the present 4 per cent to 6 per cent because of the backwardness in the community".
He accused the BJP of pursuing a policy of excluding certain communities.

The Karnataka government decided to scrap the four per cent quota for minorities in March this year and add it to the existing quota of two dominant communities of the poll-bound state.

The BJP-led government scrapped the four per cent OBC reservation for Muslims and distributed it Veerashaiva-Lingayats and Vokkaligas. It also decided to move OBC Muslims to the 10 per cent Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category.
Congress, in its election manifesto, has promised to restore the 4 per cent Muslim reservation being given by the Congress government which was scrapped by the Basavaraj Bommai government ahead of the elections.
Shah told ANI that the BJP would form the government with an absolute majority and said there is enthusiasm "to form a double-engine government".

"I have visited all parts of Karnataka. The enthusiasm, inclination, and support have increased in all areas. There is enthusiasm to form a double-engine government here. PM Modi's popularity is tremendous which will convert to votes. It is clearly visible that the BJP will form its government with full majority," he said.

Commenting on the BJP's list of candidates in which the party has given chances to over 50 new faces in the elections, Shah said the BJP makes changes every time.

"We have done this time too. Giving chances to the youth has been a trend in the BJP and we have given special attention to this."

Polling will be held for assembly polls in Karnataka on May 10 and counting of votes will take place on May 13. (ANI)

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