New Delhi: With the main opposition BJP stepping its attack on the Congress for dividing the country on religious basis, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid will on Thursday file a reply to the Election Commission`s show cause notice over his promise to give 9% reservation to Muslims.
The Law Minister was served with the poll panel notice for making a statement on the campaign trail, promising a 9% sub-quota for Muslims in the state if the Congress was voted to power.
The Congress leader has condemned the poll panel for issuing a notice to him and claimed that he did not violate the model code of conduct.
Defending himself, Khurshid said his promise of granting sub-quota to Muslims if Congress came to power in Uttar Pradesh is not a poll violation of any sorts.
Terming the move as vote-bank politics, BJP yesterday attacked Congress over its Muslim quota plank and accused the ruling party of dividing the country by promising to give religion-based reservation.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, BJP’s firebrand leader Uma Bharti said, “Congress party’s decision to give 9% reservation to the minority community is a purely politically move, which has been announced in view of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.”
Bharti, who is also the BJP’s election in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, said, “Congress’ divisive policies were responsible for the partition of the country some 60 years back and the ruling party is once again trying to divide the country on the basis of religion. By playing the quota card, the party is targeting the secular structure of the country, which will prove catastrophic for peaceful co-existence of different religious communities here.”
Steeping in the row, the Election Commission yesterday directed the government to put its decision on 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities -- within the OBC quota -- on hold for the five poll bound sates till the election process ends.
"It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the Central Government has carved out 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities from within 27 per cent quota for OBCs in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and should be stopped by the Commission," the Election Commission said in a statement.
The Commission said that while considering the matter, it took into account the fact that the decision was taken and announced" on December 22, last year, two days before the poll schedule was announced and the Model Code of Conduct went into force.
The Union Cabinet had approved 4.5% sub-quota to minorities under the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in five states. The reservation is meant for minorities in government jobs and educational institutions as defined in section 2 (C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) are notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the Act.
The government decision on the quota within quota was based on the recommendation of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.