The Congress party has promised to increase reservations from the existing 50 per cent to 75 per cent if it is voted to power in Karnataka. Announcing the proposal, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that reservation will be provided to communities based on their population.
The Congress, he said, is committed to increasing the reservation limit from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, and to all castes based on their population. Notably, the Supreme Court capped reservations in India at 50 per cent in the Indra Sawhney case.
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Siddaramaiah said that the current 50 per cent cap has not been imposed by the Constitution and exuded confidence that the Supreme Court would accept the increased cap of 75 per cent if the state adopts a quota policy backed by a robust socio-economic report.
In Karnataka’s case, Siddaramaiah added, the Justice Kantharaj Commission of permanent backward classes had already completed the exercise. Taking on Home minister Amit Shah over his remarks on the BJP government led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai withdrawing the 4 per cent reservation for Muslims, Siddaramaiah said that the Congress would increase the overall quota limit and not snatch away the rights of one community to please the other.
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The BJP government’s move last month to increase the quota for the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities was not out of the party’s love for them for only to set them up against Muslims. The people, he said, have seen through the BJP’s ploy and refuse to buy it.
Meanwhile, the BJP has termed Siddaramaiah’s promise of 75 per cent quota as a “pack of lies” and argued that there was no way that any government could do what the Congress was claiming. BJP leader BS Yediyurappa also said that the question does not arise since the Congress was not going to win the elections anyway.
Siddaramaiah’s remarks come as the Congress steps up its attack against the BJP for promising to increase the quota for Lingayats and Vokkaligas and later stating before the Supreme Court that it would not implement the order till May 9.
The new reservation policy announced by the Karnataka government last month strikes off Muslims from the OBC list and places them under the EWS category for reservations in education and jobs. The move to strike off the 4 per cent quota for Muslims has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The government claims that its order is justified as the Constitution does not permit reservations to a religious group.
Elections in Karnataka are scheduled to be held in a single phase on May 10 and the results will be declared on May 13.