Quota conundrum: Newly carved categories 2C and 2D will not be exclusive to Vokkaligas and Lingayats

All the communities that were in the earlier 3A and 3B have also been moved to 2C and 2D categories

March 28, 2023 09:24 pm | Updated 09:24 pm IST - Bengaluru

The Karnataka Cabinet’s decision to provide Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats 6% and 7% reservation quota in the newly created categories of 2C and 2D will not be exclusive to these communities, contrary to the perception that has been built along the reservation narrative.

The Kodavas and Balijas along with Vokkaligas, who were part of 3A and shared the 4% reservation, have been moved to the newly created 2C, which now has a total of 6% quota. Similarly, Marathas, Christians, Bunts, Jains and Satanis along with Veerashaiva-Lingayats in 3D and shared 5% reservation, have been moved to 2D, which now has 7%.

The earlier demand

In fact, Vokkaligas had demanded 12% reservation exclusive for the community and Panchamasalis had demanded 2A category status where a total of 15% reservation is available. Panchamasalis, who had agitated for two years, will continue to share their reservation benefit with other Lingayat sub-castes besides other communities in the 2D category.

Those defending the scrapping of 4% reservation to Muslims in 2B and equally distributing it to the Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats have been silent on the other communities being part of the new categories. A source in the Chief Minister’s Office also acknowledged that the larger reservation narrative has been lost in the din created around the reservation to two dominant communities.

A senior Minister in the government acknowledged that all the communities in the earlier 3A and 3B have been moved to 2C and 2D respectively, as a separate category or reservation quota is not possible within the existing 32% reservation matrix. “While increase in reservation for SC/ST communities can be justified since census figures are available, increase in OBC reservation matrix cannot be justified in the absence of any data,” the Minister said.

The Veerashaiva-Lingayat Mahasabha, whose demand had been to include all sub-castes in the central OBC list, does not see much benefit with the change of categories. Former Congress legislator Ashokanand Kashappanavar, who was actively involved in the Panchamasali movement and left it in disagreement after a fresh reservation quota was announced, said, “We were already in 3B and we did not get what we demanded. The changes are not legally tenable. It is unfair to snatch Muslim reservation and Basava Tatva does not allow it.” 

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