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OPINION | MUSLIM RESERVATION: MODI IN AGGRESSIVE MODE

Addressing an election rally in Tonk, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded that the Congress government in 2004 had reduced SC/ST reservation in Andhra Pradesh and had given reservation to Muslims.

Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: April 25, 2024 6:24 IST
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Image Source : INDIA TV 'Aaj Ki Baat' with Rajat Sharma.

Firing a fresh salvo against the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday warned voters that if Congress came to power, it would reduce reservation quotas for Dalits, Backward Castes and Tribals and extend reservation to Muslims. Addressing an election rally in Tonk, PM Modi reminded that the Congress government in 2004 had reduced SC/ST reservation in Andhra Pradesh and had given reservation to Muslims. He said, “It was a pilot project to test the waters so that it could be implemented through India.” Modi said, Congress tried to give Muslim reservation in Andhra Pradesh at least four times between 2004 and 2010, but could not do so due to hurdles from the Supreme Court.

In another salvo fired at the Congress, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath told a rally in Amroha that the Congress manifesto has clearly promised that if it formed a government at the Centre, it would implement personal laws, “meaning Sharia law”. “They want to implement Taliban administration in India. Will you accept Taliban administration?”, Yogi asked the voters. Yogi took out a big roadshow in Meerut for BJP candidate and former Ramayana serial actor Arun Govil.

Reacting to Modi’s and Yogi’s allegations, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said, if BJP returned to power for the third time, “Narendra Modi will change the Constitution and end reservation”. One should learn from Narendra Modi how to turn the tables in an election campaign. By questioning the Congress party’s intentions on the reservation, Modi has put Congress on the defensive. Congress leaders had been alleging for the last several weeks that Modi wanted to abolish the Constitution. Even RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav had said that Modi would end reservation.

In the first round, Modi replied to their allegations and reiterated his belief in the Constitution and democracy. He also explained that he had full faith in the principles laid down by BR Ambedkar when the Constitution was framed. In the second round, Modi chose to carry out a direct attack. He laid bare the history of the Congress, he publicly conducted a post-mortem of the Congress manifesto, and told voters that the “hidden agenda” of Congress was to continue with “appeasement politics”.

Modi mainly presented three points – One, the Congress manifesto was drafted on the lines of the Muslim League’s 1936 manifesto, Two, Congress intends to seize properties from the people and hand them over to Muslims, and Three, the real intention of Congress was to take away reservation quota from Dalits and backward castes and hand them to Muslims. This is one of the biggest attacks made by Modi in the current general elections. It has put Congress into a defensive mode. It seems Modi has turned the tables on the eve of the second phase of polling on Friday (April 26). In one stroke, he has forced leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi, Mallikarjun Khare and Dr Farooq Abdullah to describe Modi as “anti-Muslim”. This will have no effect on Modi’s and BJP’s chances because they have been levelling the same allegations for the last 23 years.

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