Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today said the Centre will “examine as per law” the Telangana government’s proposal to raise quota to backward sections among Muslims, after the state assembly passes an act to this effect and sends it for approval.
He said though the BJP is not against Muslims, but at the same time it is against granting quota on the basis of religion. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao yesterday said his government would convene the Legislative Assembly on April 16 to pass a bill to increase quotas to the STs (Scheduled Tribes) and backward sections among Muslims.
Rao also said that the state Cabinet would meet on April 15 to decide the percentage of reservations. “The Chief Minister has been talking about reservations to Muslims. The Telangana government wants to implement it (quota) on the lines of Tamil Nadu government. The BJP is not against Muslims. We (BJP) are against religion-based reservations. The Supreme Court had also ruled that religion- based reservations are not legal,” Dattatreya told reporters.
“The state government may ensure the passage of the (proposed) Reservation Bill as they have the majority. (However) when it comes to the Centre, it will be examined in the constitutional and legal point of view. I cannot tell now what the Centre is going to do,” the Union minister said. He said that the Congress party, which had promised a similar kind of reservation in the past, failed to implement it due to legal issues.
“The criteria for reservations for any section of people should be based on discrimination or exploitation of that particular community, but not by considering economic backwardness,” he said. Responding to a query, Dattatreya said the Centre had sanctioned tourism projects worth Rs 275 crore to Telangana.
Rao had said his government would urge the central government to help in the implementation of its decision to raise quotas, as it was done in case of Tamil Nadu in 1990s, as total percentage of reservation would go beyond the cap of 50 per cent.
“We are copying Tamil Nadu as it is. Because the Centre took it (Tamil Nadu’s request) up, gave assent and put it in the 9th Schedule (of Constitution, as it cannot be challenged in courts), We are asking the Centre to do the same,” Rao told reporters yesterday.
He said that the government was only seeking to raise the percentage of reservations currently being availed by backward sections among Muslims in Telangana.
The BJP has been opposing the TRS government’s move to hike quotas for Muslims. Increasing the quotas for minorities and STs was a promise given by the TRS in its election manifesto.