Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday vowed to scrap reservations for Muslims in Telangana if the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the state. The Assembly elections in Telangana will be held later this year.

Addressing a rally at Chevella near Hyderabad, Shah described the quota given to Muslims in Telangana in education and employment as well as in the implementation of welfare schemes such as double-bedroom houses as unconstitutional.

He said the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes have a rightful claim to these reservations.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi criticised Shah, saying that the BJP has no vision for the state besides “anti-Muslim hate speech”.

In a tweet he wrote: “If Shah is serious about justice for SCs, STs and OBCs, then he should introduce a constitutional amendment to remove 50% quota ceiling. Reservations for backward Muslim groups is based on empirical data.”

Shah’s statement came a month after the BJP government in Karnataka decided to remove Muslims from the Other Backward Classes quota. The move, ahead of the May 10 Assembly elections, gave away the Muslim quota to the politically-influential Vokkaligas and Lingayats.

The BJP has argued that the OBC quota for Muslims, which entitled them to reservation in government jobs and admissions in educational institutions, was unconstitutional because reservation based on religion is not allowed.

But on April 13, the Supreme Court told the Karnataka government that a reading of the government order scrapping the quota appears to suggest that prima facie the foundation of its decision-making process is “highly shaky and flawed”.