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Updated: January 11, 2012 20:35 IST

BJP to oppose religion-based reservation

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BJP leader Uma Bharti arrives to attend a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
The Hindu
BJP leader Uma Bharti arrives to attend a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Terming religion-based quota for Muslims as a “dirty gameplan” of the Congress to divide the nation again, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said it will oppose any such move by launching a nation-wide mass movement and exposing the “dirty face” of its rival party.

“The nation is on the verge of another partition — this time an ideological partition. The BJP will not allow any such partition on the basis of religion,” said BJP leader Uma Bharti.

Charging the Congress with playing “dirty politics” for petty political gains in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP leader said, “The sole purpose behind this dirty politics is the OBC vote bank and the target is Uttar Pradesh.”

She said the BJP will launch a countrywide “Jan Andolan” (mass movement) from the streets to Parliament to expose the “dirty face” of the Congress.

“I will myself come forward in opposing the move for religion-based reservation, as it poses a threat to the nation’s unity and integrity,” she said.

She added that the Congress party was trying to play such dirty politics merely to increase its votes by one or two per cent in one state.

Ms. Bharti also accused the Congress of having a “bigoted mentality” illustrated by its proposal for “religion-based reservation” ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, as it could not tolerate anyone opposing it.

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister also urged the “so-called” leaders of OBCs and Dalits, besides Muslim leaders to oppose religion-based reservation.

Ms. Bharti said the BJP will also talk to Muslim leaders asking them not to support the move as religion—based reservation went against the basic tenets of Islam.

“Islam is based on the primary principle of universal brotherhood. It does not accept reservation. Caste inequality has been a part of the Hindu society,” Ms. Bharti said.

Urging Muslim leaders to come forward in opposing such a reservation, Ms. Bharti said, “If Muslims accept and adopt this, then they should come out of Islam...”

Naming Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, she lamented that the “so-called leaders of Dalits and backward classes” had remained silent so far on the issue.

Ms. Bharti went on to recall Nehru’s words spoke on May 5, 1949 that “If you seek to give safeguards to the minority, you isolate it. Maybe you protect it to a slight extent. But at what cost? At the cost of isolating and keeping it away from the main current.”

Charging the Congress for its “dirty and divisionary” politics, Ms. Bharti said India was a secular state which did not practise religion—based reservation.

“Our nation is a secular state. It is not a religious state...By announcing such religion-based reservation, does the Congress say that India is a Hindu State. We say it is a Hindu nation, but not a Hindu state,” the BJP leader said, while asking the Congress to clarify its stand on the issue.

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