New Delhi: BJP on Saturday accused Congress of
shifting the focus of Uttar Pradesh elections from the issues
of corruption and law and order to "divisive politics" for
electoral gains by offering nine per cent reservation to
minorities, taking away a major chunk from the OBC share.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley
maintained that issues like good governance, improving law and
order and corruption were the main election issues in Uttar
"But Congress is attempting to change the agenda from
electoral issues to a divisive agenda by offering reservation
on religious lines. It has offered nine per cent reservation
to minorities which the Constitution does not permit. This is
an attempt to divide the society at the time of elections,"
He asked why the UPA had not thought about this issue in
the last seven and a half years it has been in power.
"This provision will make a big hole in the OBC right to
27 per cent reservation. By offering 9 per cent within the
OBC quota (of 27 per cent) to the minorities, the government
is providing for 33 per cent to the latter from the minority
share," Jaitley said.
The BJP leader also hit out at the government and the
Congress for indulging in double-speak on the issue.
"The Congress spokesperson has said this offer of nine
per cent reservation to minorities is the personal view of the
minister (Salman Kurshid). Why this dual forked tongue?"
He maintained that even on the Batla House encounter the
government and Congress spoke on different lines and demanded
that the former issue a White Paper to clear the air.
Jaitley claimed that while the Batla House encounter
had broken the spine of the Indian Mujahideen and it could not
regroup any longer, the Congress general secretary (Digvijay
Singh) was calling it a fake encounter.
"The government should issue a White Paper on the
articles seized from the encounter spot, the people arrested
and those who managed to run away so that nobody makes these
(fake encounter) claims again," Jaitley said.
BJP also insisted that the Congress is desperate to
get a new ally in SP or BSP in UP as its alliance with TMC is
He alleged that double speak by the government and
the Congress on minority quota appears to be part of a
strategy. "The right hand and the left hand are both acting in
tandem. Congress knew that on governance issues it would be
left far behind the other parties," Jaitley said.
The BJP leader warned the Congress against playing
such divisive politics. "We believe the Congress is getting
entangled in its own web as it plays this politics. Its
too-clever-by-half practice may leave them with tactics but no
votes," he said.
Citing the case of Bihar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad,
Jaitley said a particular leader in the state, who had played
the caste card, ended up paying the price when people voted
for the JD(U)-BJP alliance led by Nitish Kumar.
While the Congress appears to be wooing the minority
voters through this 9 per cent quota, the BJP has sensed an
opportunity to win over the non-Yadav OBC voters who are
unhappy with the announcement as their share will shrink.
BJP sources said if the upper caste and OBCs like
Kushwahas, Mauryas, Koeries and Kicchas vote in its favour,
the party would be in a strong position in UP.