To fulfill election promise, Telangana assembly holds special session for Muslim quota bill

A bill seeking to increase the reservation to Scheduled Tribes and backward sections among Muslims has been tabled in the Telangana Legislative Assembly in a special sitting on Sunday.

The state cabinet, which met in Hyderabad on Saturday, gave its nod to the bill, sources said. However, there was no official briefing on the cabinet meeting in view of the session.

The bill would be introduced in the assembly as per the TRS’ election promise to make efforts to provide 12% quota each for backward sections among Muslims and STs. The state government would make efforts to realise the promise, though it required Centre’s nod, as it was part of TRS’ election manifesto, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had said earlier this week.

The state government would urge the Centre to take up the issue as the percentage of quotas would go beyond the 50% cap, he had said. The Centre would have to give its assent as 69% quota is already under implementation in Tamil Nadu, he had said.

As the TRS government is exactly following the Tamil Nadu model, the increased reservations should be incorporated in the 9th Schedule of Constitution so that it cannot be questioned in court, he had said. The opposition BJP has been strident in its opposition to the proposal, alleging that it is against the spirit of Constitution as it is “communal”.

The Chief Minister, however, had asserted that the reservation is proposed to be given not on the basis of religion, but on the basis of backwardness. Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had on Friday said the implementation of reservations on the basis of religion may result in social unrest in the country and “lead to creation of another Pakistan”.

Speaking at a BJP meeting organised on the occasion of the Ambedkar Jayanti on Friday, Naidu had also hinted that Telangana’s proposal to hike reservations for certain sections may not be constitutionally valid. “We are not opposing (reservation on religion basis) because KCR (Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao) wants to implement it,” he said, adding, “The BJP opposed such a move even when Rajasekhara Reddy (late CM of united Andhra Pradesh) and Chandrababu Naidu (present CM) also tried to do that.”

“We will oppose any such move because it will lead to creation of another Pakistan. It is an all India policy of the BJP. It is not the policy of Telangana unit of the BJP,” he had said.

Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohd Ali Shabbir slammed the BJP on Saturday for categorising the minorities quota as a “religious reservation”. “The BJP has given 10% quota to Patels in Gujarat. Is it not a religious reservation?” he asked.

BJP floor leader in assembly, G Kishan Reddy, alleged that the TRS government is acting “unilaterally” as it gave no information about the issue to opposition. Criticising the state government for allegedly clubbing reservation for STs and backward sections among Muslims, he said such a move would hurt STs in the event of courts striking down the bill.