Siddaramaiah to file a defamation case against Modi over Muslim reservation remarks

Prime Narendra Modi alleged that the Congress is trying to give reservation to Muslims by reducing the reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is likely to file a defamation case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks that Congress tried to give reservations to Muslims by “snatching it from STs, SCs”, sources told TNM. 

According to sources, the Chief Minister is highly offended by the ‘lies’ of Modi and feels that only a legal recourse would expose him and put an end to the controversy.

On April 23, addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk-Sawai Madhopur Lok Sabha constituency, Modi claimed that Congress tried to give reservation to Muslims by reducing the reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs violating the Constitution. Modi also boasted that when the BJP government in Karnataka came to power, the first thing it did was to abolish the Muslim quota, “which was created by snatching it from STs, SCs,” he alleged.

In March 2023, prior to the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the ruling BJP government in the state eliminated the reservation of 4% for Muslims under the backward class category "2B" and transferred them to the 10% quota pool for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the general category. 

Meanwhile, in the run-up to the Assembly elections in 2023, the Congress party promised to reinstate the 4% reservation quota for the Muslim community in the state, where the party secured a sweeping victory in the elections.

On April 24, 2024, just a few days before the first round of polling in Karnataka for the Lok Sabha, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, announced that he would summon the Chief Secretary of the government regarding the State's categorisation of the OBC quota. Ahir alleged that the quota provides "blanket reservation" to Muslims under Category 2B, and claimed that this ‘new development’ requires clarification. 

Following this, the BJP launched an attack against the Congress government in Karnataka alleging it has given all reservations meant for Backward Classes to Muslims.

Giving a clarification on this Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the government has not made any changes to the OBC reservation matrix. He also accused the NCBC of being politically motivated. He alleged that the NCBC was attempting to create the impression that the Congress government of Karnataka has given a new reservation to Muslims. He pointed out that the OBC reservation of Muslims has been in existence since March 3, 1977. 

The quota for Muslims in government jobs and education in Karnataka is perceived to have been introduced in 1994 by HD Deve Gowda when he was the Chief Minister. However, the creation of the "2B" category for Muslims by his Janata Dal government was a continuation of a process that began in 1918 during the reign of the princely state of Mysore, where Muslims were identified as "socially backward" through scientific inquiries conducted by several state commissions.

Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) is now an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in Karnataka.

Read: Fact check: Did Siddaramaiah include Muslims now in the OBC reservation list? 

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