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Congress trying to bring in religion-based quotas: BJP

Friday, February 19, 2010 08:56:44 PM, IANS

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Indore: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday accused the Congress of attempting to introduce religion-based quotas and said it will oppose all such moves.

Speaking at the party’s national council meeting here, senior BJP leader Venkaih Naidu said the Congress was attempting to “re-inject religion-based quotas” and the move was “not only anti-secular and anti-national” but would also “mostly hurt the interests of backward classes”.


Referring to the Andhra Pradesh government’s move to provide four percent reservation to Muslims, a decision struck down by the state high court, the BJP leader said the Congress was going against the views of its own leaders.


“The Congress is disregarding the views of the Constituent Assembly and its own leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi who opposed communal reservations,” Naidu said.


Alleging that the Congress had used minorities as a vote bank, he said the party cannot escape responsibility for dismal plight of many Muslims in large parts of India. Muslims were most backward in states like Bihar and West Bengal, where “the most vocal of secular parties had been in power for long”, he added.


Naidu, a former BJP president, said creation of separate electorates and categorisation of society along religious lines had produced a separatist mindset and led to the partition of India. “It is precisely for this reason that the founding fathers of the republic kept religion out of decision-making by the state,” he said.


Expressing his party’s resolve to oppose religion-based reservation, he contended that attempts to create “a special citizenship for Muslims” can pave the way for “a second partition”.


Naming persons from Muslim community in the country who had achieved high positions in their respective fields, Naidu said there has never been any discrimination towards individuals on the basis of religion.


The BJP leader said his party believed that Muslims were an inseparable part of India.


“They share with the rest of the people a common ancestry and a common culture. Their struggle for economic prosperity, social dignity, women’s empowerment and education make them one with the rest of India. By separating Muslim issues from the rest, the government is creating an artificial divide, breeding resentment and nurturing divisive forces,” he said.






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