BJP is opposed to reservation policy, says Chief Minister

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of remaining opposed to the reservation policy.

He was addressing party workers at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office here after welcoming MLC M.D. Laxminarayan and a few former MLAs, among others, to the Congress. He said the Congress had a history of providing social justice to people — right from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru till date — to guarantee development of the nation, uplift the downtrodden and to ensure progress. On the contrary, the BJP had opposed the Mandal Commission report and the women’s reservation Bill, and was against providing reservation to the backward classes and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe groups in panchayats and local bodies.

Taking a jibe at BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Mr. Siddaramaiah said, “He [Mr. Modi] is an RSS-trained man.” Let Mr. Modi announce that his party would provide reservation to the backward classes and other needy sections of society based on their population. If he could say it, he would not be in the BJP, he said.

Referring to the BJP, the Chief Minister said communalism was far more dangerous than corruption. There was no truth in the BJP statement that harped on the ‘Gujarat model’ of development. The drop out rate in schools in Gujarat was 60 per cent against the national average of 40 per cent. There was one teacher for every 34 students in Karnataka against 54 in Gujarat. Gujarat stood 12th in terms of per capita in the country and Karnataka’s record was better, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

On the reported statement of BJP’s State unit president Pralhad Joshi that the party would win nearly 20 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, he said people of the State had rejected the BJP just 10 months ago. How could the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa be absolved of corruption charges if he rejoined the BJP and in what way the re-entry of Sriramulu bolster the strength of the BJP, he sought to know.

AICC secretary A. Chella Kumar, Ministers H.S. Mahadev Prasad and T.B. Jayachandra, and the former Minister B.L. Shankar were among those present.

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