BJP’s master stroke at eleventh hour 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Karnataka government decided to placate Lingayats and Vokkaliga community demands for higher reservation by removing Muslims from the backward classes list, making it clear on where the party’s priorities lie in the run up to the assembly elections.
Under Karnataka›s complex caste equations, the move to reclassify reservation is a direct attempt to get the backing of Vokkaligas who have so far not backed the BJP in the state elections and also assuaging anger of the dominant Lingayat community whose decision to back the party has been under question over the removal of B.S. Yediyurappa as chief minister and the ongoing agitation by the Panchamasalis.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who briefed the media after the last cabinet meeting of the incumbent government, said that this would only enhance opportunities for the Muslims or religious minorities.
“Constitutionally, they have said it very simply. Those castes which are not under SC/ST, OBC reservation, other than that, everyone else can be under economically weaker section. From a 4 percent pool, they (Muslims) will be 10 percent. But the conditions are the same. There is an economic criteria here (Backward classes list) and there is an economic criteria there (EWS pool) as well,” Bommai said in Bengaluru.
He added that only those Muslims who were economically backward were only eligible for reservation under their existing provisions in the backward classes list but under EWS all will be eligible.
In Karnataka, there are just five main communities that come under the EWS quota of 10 per cent  but has just five main communities–Brahmins, Jain, Aryavaishya, Nagarthas and Modaliars–who make up just around 4 per cent of the state’s estimated 70 million population.
“Instead of 4 percent, they (Muslims)  can take more chances in 10 percent. They get more opportunities,” he said.
Muslims were the sole religious minority in the 2B category of the backward classes list which had a reservation of 4 percent.
However, this classification has been done away with and the 4 percent reservation available to the 2B group will now be equally distributed to the two newly created categories: 2C & 2D.
The Bommai-led government had in mid-January decided to do away with categories 3A (Vokkaligas & others) as well as 3B (Lingayats & others) which have a reservation of 4 percent and 5 percent respectively.
Now the newly carved categories will each get 2 percent additional reservation which will take the provisions for Vokkaligas and other groups from 4 percent to 6 percent and for Veerashaiva-Lingayats and others from 5 percent to 7 percent.
The Panchamasalis have said that they will have to study the decision and react to the same on Saturday morning.
The state government also decided to implement internal reservation for various caste groups as part of its ‘review’.
Bommai said that the government had formed a commission and they have submitted their report. But since there were many complex issues, another cabinet sub-committee was formed under state Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy.
“This cabinet sub-committee, after much deliberation, has come to a conclusion that under the existing SC reservation, everyone should get justice…in proportion to their population and their status,” Bommai said.
According to Article 341(2) the SC community has been divided into four groups, Bommai said and under the recommendations of the sub-cabinet committee, internal reservations for the four classifications will be given.
Under this SC(left) will get 6 percent, SC (Right) will get 5.5 percent, ‘touchables’ will get 4.5 percent and others will get 1 percent, Bommai informed.
Bommai also said that it will send its recommendations of those communities like Kadu Kuruba, Jenu Kuruba to be included in the ST category.

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