4% OBC quota for Muslims scrapped in poll-bound Karnataka

In an unprecedented move the  BJP government on Friday decided to scrap 4 per cent reservation for Muslims under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota, which will be distributed equally among the dominant Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities ahead of the Assembly election.

Muslims, who come under Category 2B, will be moved to the 10 per cent EWS quota pool, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced.

From the 4 per cent that is freed up, the Vokkaligas and Lingayats will get two percentage points each, which will increase their reservation in the OBC pool.

At present, Vokkaligas have 4 per cent and Lingayats 5 per cent. After the Cabinet decision, Vokkaligas will get 6 per cent and Lingayats 7 per cent under Categories 2(C) and 2(D), respectively. They were earlier under Categories 3A and 3B, which stand scrapped.

With this, the BJP government hopes to placate the politically powerful communities that wanted a hike in their quotas. The government was especially under pressure from the Panchamasalis, a numerically-stronger sub-sect of the Lingayats.

There is no provision under the Constitution for reservation to religious minorities. It is not there in any state. In Andhra Pradesh, the court struck down reservation to religious minorities. Even BR Ambedkar said clearly that reservation is for castes,” Bommai explained.

“Sooner or later, someone might challenge reservation to religious minorities. So, the government has taken a proactive decision,” Bommai said. “In the literal sense, there are economic criteria to avail OBC reservation, even for minorities. We’re moving [Muslims] from a 4 per cent pool to the 10 per cent EWS quota where the same economic criteria will continue,” he said.

Bommai specified that the poor from all communities that are not SC, ST or OBC will qualify under the EWS quota. The government will soon notify implementation of the EWS quota, the CM said.

Under the 10 per cent EWS quota, the Brahmins, Jains, Arya Vysyas, Nagarthas and Mudaliars are expected to benefit alongside Muslims. “If you look at it optimistically, the Muslims now qualify under a larger pool of 10 per cent reservation,” Bommai pointed out. He also said that some Muslims also come under Category 1 and Category 2A, which will remain undisturbed.

Even after the tinkering, the Bommai government has ensured that the total OBC reservation remains at 32 per cent across four categories – Category 1 (4 per cent), Category 2A (15 per cent), Category 2C (6 per cent) and Category 2D (7 per cent).



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