BJP won’t tolerate religion-based quota: Uma Bharti (Lead)

January 11th, 2012 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti Wednesday accused the Congress of a “bigoted mentality” for talking of “religion-based reservation” ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and said her party would not tolerate it and fight it in and outside the state.

Uma Bharti, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, said here that the Muslim community should also oppose the proposal as it was “against the basic tenets of Islam”.

“Islam does not accept discrimination. Caste inequality has been a part of Hindu society,” she said.

“It reflects the bigoted mentality of Congress. Muslims should also condemn the Congress … We will not tolerate it. We will fight on the streets, in parliament,” she said and added that the party will not allow a “second partition of the country”.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government last month decided to provide 4.5 percent reservation to minorities in central government jobs and educational institutions within the 27 percent quota for other backward classes (OBCs).

Law Minister Salman Khurshid Monday said the party will provide nine percent reservation to backward Muslims within the OBC quota if the Congress was voted to power in Uttar Pradesh. Taking exception to it, BJP had complained to the Election Commission, which issued Khurshid a notice.

On Khurshid’s response to the Election Commission notice for making the announcement, that “it was only a notice”, Uma Bharti said the Congress had a feudal mindset towards autonomous institutions.

“They think the institutions should work according to their wish,” she said.

The BJP leader said former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also spoken against religion-based reservation.

Uma Bharti, who is among the lead campaigners of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh elections, said Muslims had got the maximum share in economic development in Gujarat, a state ruled by the party.

She said the BJP would take the fight against religion based quota outside Uttar Pradesh as the party saw a bigger plan behind the announcement.

The BJP fielded Uma Bharti, who belongs to the Lodh community, to take on the Congress in an apparent effort to tap into discontent among the OBCs over the Congress announcement of a sub-quota for minorities.

She said India was a secular state which did not practise “religion based reservation.”

“We say it is a Hindu nation but not Hindu state. Has Congress tried to say it is a Hindu state,” Uma Bharti said and added that all parties should clear their stand on the issue.

Answering a query, she said the main reason for Muslims not getting an adequate share in jobs was their not getting an “hi-tech education”.

Taking a dig at the other major players in the state, Bharti questioned the silence of Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on the issue.

“Why are Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati silent,” she asked.

Downplaying her reported displeasure over induction of tainted former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party and her refusal to stop campaigning, Uma Bharti said she will tour Uttar Pradesh after Jan 15.

She said party president Nitin Gadkari would decide if she will contest the assembly polls from the state.

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