The BJP on Tuesday complained to the Election Commission that Congress leader and Union Minister Salman Khurshid had violated the model code of conduct by promising nine per cent sub-quota for backward Muslims in Uttar Pradesh if voted to power.
A BJP delegation, led by party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, submitted a memorandum to Chief Eelection Commissioner S Y Quraishi in connection with reports that Mr. Khurshid had made the announcement on Monday at a public meeting in Farrukhabad where his wife Louis in fray.
“He has also indicated that Muslims will be benefited from this move. This is an unconstitutional announcement and a blatant violation of model code of conduct,” BJP said.
Mr. Naqvi later told reporters that this was a “criminal conspiracy” on the part of the Congress and a “dangerous move towards the path of communal conflict and disharmony“.
“Earlier the Congress-led government had announced it would provide 4.5 per cent reservation to minorities within the OBC quota and now Khurshid has said it will be 9 per cent.
This is definitely an attack on the rights and dignity of the backward castes. This is also a dangerous conspiracy to start a civil war,” Mr. Naqvi said.
The party announced that it will not allow such “regressive designs” to succeed. BJP leaders will hold protests in all constituencies of UP on January 13 against this move of the Congress.
The BJP has been aggressively wooing the OBC voters in UP and hence has opposed the quota within quota for minorities which would shrink the share of the backward castes.
The vociferous opposition to quota for minorities is part of the BJP’s overtures to the OBC. The party had inducted tainted former Cabinet minister in Mayawati’s government, Babu Singh Kushwaha with the aim of winning the OBC voters of Kushwaha, Maurya, Koeri and Kacchi communities.
The BJP also rebutted Mr. Khurshid’s comments that a party has a right to issue a manifesto and hence there was nothing wrong in his declaration.
“When a manifesto is issued a copy of it is submitted to the Election Commission which vets and approves it. Only then can it be released. Till now Congress has not submitted its manifesto. Hence this is a clear—cut violation of the code of conduct,” Mr. Naqvi said.
He alleged that this was an unconstitutional announcement which was part of a criminal conspiracy to destroy the social fabric and harmony of the country.
“This statement has been made by a senior minister of the government... The Congress is trying to show itself as a champion of the minorities. But this will only create divisions and is against the nation’s interest,” Naqvi said. The BJP described this as a “political gimmick“.
“Were the Muslims not included in the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs? Were they not benefitting from this? What was the need to do away the share of the OBCs?” Mr. Naqvi asked.
The right-wing party maintained that the “reservation for minorities” chorus of BSP and SP was the same as that of the Congress. It insisted that these parties will never say minorities should not be given reservation from within the OBC share.