It was Deve Gowda government that implemented quota for Muslims in Karnataka

Reservation for Muslims under the OBC quota was implemented by the government of HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal, show records.
It was Deve Gowda government that implemented quota for Muslims in Karnataka
Jaano Junction

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the Congress-led Karnataka government's decision to include the Muslim community in the state's OBC list, records show that this reservation was first implemented in 1995 by HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal. Interestingly, Deve Gowda's JD(S) is now an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Labelling the Congress as the "biggest enemy of the OBCs", PM Modi, at a Madhya Pradesh rally, stated, "Once again, Congress has granted religious-based reservation in Karnataka by including all Muslim castes along with the OBCs through the backdoor. This move has deprived a significant portion of the reservation from the OBC community."

In a quick clap back, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the claim that the Congress had "transferred" the reservation from backward classes to Muslims was a "blatant lie".

He also questioned whether former Prime Minister Deve Gowda still stood by his support for quotas for Muslims as he initiated the measure or "surrender to Narendra Modi".

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It was Deve Gowda government that implemented quota for Muslims in Karnataka

"Is Deve Gowda, who once boasted of implementing the reservation for Muslims, still committed to his stand? Or will they surrender to Narendra Modi and change their previous stand? He should make it clear to the people of the state," Siddaramaiah said.

In 1995, the Deve Gowda government gave four per cent reservation to Muslims in Karnataka under a distinct classification, 2B, within the OBC quota.

An order dated February 14, 1995, by the Karnataka government highlighted that this decision followed the considerations of the Chinnappa Reddy Commission Report and adhered to the Supreme Court's directive to cap overall reservations at 50 per cent.

The Reddy Commission recommended grouping Muslims in Category 2 under the OBC list.

Acting on this, the Veerappa Moily-led Congress government, through an order dated April 20 and April 25, 1994, announced a six per cent reservation in Category 2B, identified as "More Backward", for Muslims, Buddhists, and Scheduled Caste converts to Christianity.

While four per cent reservation was given to Muslims, two per cent was designated for Buddhists and SCs who converted to Christianity. The reservation was scheduled to come into effect from October 24, 1994.

However, the reservation was challenged in the Supreme Court. An interim order was issued on September 9, 1994, directing the Karnataka government to limit overall reservations to 50 per cent, inclusive of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs.

The Veerappa Moily-led Congress government faced a political crisis and collapsed on December 11, 1994, before implementing the order.

HD Deve Gowda became Chief Minister on December 11, 1994. On February 14, 1995, he implemented the previous government's quota decision with amendments according to the Supreme Court's interim verdict.

SCs who converted to Christianity and Buddhism, who were previously categorised under 2B, were reclassified into Category 1 and 2A respectively, in the same order. Under the 2B quota, four per cent of seats in educational institutions and state government jobs were reserved for Muslims.

In 2006, a coalition government comprising JD(S) and BJP was formed, followed by a BJP government led by BS Yediyurappa in 2008. However, during both tenures, no modifications were made to this classification.

In 2019, when the BJP government returned to power, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai proposed abolishing categories 3A and 3B for OBCs on March 27, 2023. Instead, new categories 2C and 2D were suggested, with 2 per cent reservations for the Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities each.

The Bommai administration also proposed abolishing the 2B category for Muslims and including them in the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). However, this faced opposition and ran into a legal battle, leading to the proposal being shelved.

The Karnataka government's decision to scrap the four per cent OBC quota for Muslims was "prima facie shaky and flawed", the Supreme Court said on April 13, 2023. The Bommai government had then said no fresh appointments or admissions would be made in terms of the contentious government order.

Currently, the Supreme Court has halted the implementation of the BJP government's decision, maintaining the status quo in reservations for the backward class community.

Source: India Today

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