Former BJP president Rajnath Singh has said his party would withdraw support to the Women’s Reservation Bill during its passage in the Lok Sabha if the Government tried “backdoor” reservation for minorities in the measure.

“The BJP is clear that the strength of the Bill is its non-communal nature. This country was once divided on the basis of religion.

“The BJP will not support the Bill if the Government tries backdoor representation for Muslims (in Parliament),” Mr. Singh told in an interview.

BJP has credited itself with helping the UPA Government pass the legislation in the Rajya Sabha.

“(NCP chief) Sharad Pawar had reportedly appealed to (JD-U chief) Sharad Yadav, (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad and (SP supremo) Mulayam Singh Yadav to support the Bill in exchange for reservation within the bill for Muslim women. I also hear that the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi have agreed to that. The BJP will oppose this approach totally,” he said.

When asked whether opposing reservation for minorities will “confirm” the alleged anti-Muslim bias of the BJP, Mr. Singh said if his party was anti-minority, then it would not have supported the Mandal Commission recommendations.

“Seventy per cent of beneficiaries of the recommendations are Muslims. The BJP has supported whatever is necessary for nation building,” the BJP MP said.

Mr. Singh maintained that reservation within reservation for minorities will be against the spirit of the Constitution and said political, social, economic and cultural empowerment of the masses with an “unbiased approach” was the only way out.

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