Lucknow, Jan 29: Defending the decision to provide minority (Muslim) reservation, Law Minister, Salman Khurshid on Sunday said that the Central Government had powers to grant quota to backwards castes of minority communities within the Hindu backward caste quota.
The Election Commission has stayed the government decision to grant 4.5 percent reservation to minorities (Muslims) in government jobs and educational institutions due to ongoing state polls.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has opposed the move, contending that Indian Constitution didn’t permit religion-based reservation.
Khurshid claimed that such reservation had been granted in southern states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and even BJP had done it in Bihar.
“We (the government) have powers to grant quota within quota or sub quota. It has been done in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. It has also been done in Bihar, the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has done it,” said Khurshid.
Khushid, however, conceded that government couldn’t change the list of OBC (other backward caste) drafted by the Mandal Commission, which includes people from all religions.
“The government can’t change the list of OBC drafted by the Mandal Commission, which includes people from all religions. More castes could be included in the list by the Backward Commission only and only the commission has the powers to exclude a caste from it,” added Khurshid.
Voting in Uttar Pradesh would be held in seven phases for 403 assembly constituencies starting February 8 and it would conclude on March 3.he counting of votes would take place on March 6. (ANI)