Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that he would not allow reservations for Schedules Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes to be “distributed to the Muslims” as long as he is alive, reported The Hindu.

Speaking at an election rally in Telangana’s Zaheerabad Lok Sabha constituency, Modi reiterated his claim that the Congress was “undermining the Indian Constitution” and intends to create reservations for Muslims in government jobs and education “by snatching away the rights of the marginalised sections for their vote bank politics”.

The Congress’ manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls does not talk about religion-based reservations for any community.

It states: “We will ensure that the minorities receive their fair share of opportunities in education, healthcare, public employment, public works contracts, skill development, sports and cultural activities without discrimination.”

The prime minister claimed on Tuesday that the Congress had diverted quotas meant for backward classes toward Muslim beneficiaries, citing the 4% reservations for Muslims under the Other Backward Classes category in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, reported PTI.

Modi accused the Congress of trying to make undivided Andhra Pradesh a “laboratory of appeasement” in 2004 and 2009.

Muslims have had access to 4% reservations in education and government jobs under the Other Backward Classes category in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh since 2007.

A total of 14 states and Union territories include Muslims in their list of Other Backward Classes, based on socio-economic indicators.

Gujarat, where Modi was the chief minister for 12 years, also lists Muslim communities among Other Backward Classes. In an interview to ANI two years ago, Modi had boasted about 70 Muslim castes getting reservation benefits in the state.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Union home minister Amit Shah, have promised during elections rallies to do away with “religion-based reservations” in the future.

The Congress and the INDIA bloc has promised, if it comes to power in the Lok Sabha elections, to conduct a caste census that will be used to formulate schemes for Dalits and other backward or minority communities.

Repeating false claims

The prime minister on Tuesday also reiterated his claim that the Congress would introduce an inheritance tax in India if it is voted to power, reported Hindustan Times.

“Congress is planning to collect more than half, 55%, as tax on inheritance,” said Modi.

The Congress manifesto does not contain any reference to an inheritance tax. It states: “We will address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies.”

A former Congress advisor Sam Pitroda, who lives in the United States, had recently said that inheritance tax was an “interesting idea” and elicited sharp criticism from the BJP. The Congress has formally distanced itself from Pitroda’s remarks.

Also read: