Repeating his claims that the Congress would introduce religion-based reservations if voted to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday alleged that the Opposition party is planning to give preference to minorities even in sports.

Speaking at an election rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar, Modi said: “The Congress’s intention is to give priority to minorities in sports as well. This means it will now decide who will be in and out of the cricket team on the basis of religion.”

The prime minister made the claim while alleging that the Congress and parties in the INDIA bloc plan to “snatch away” the reservations in government jobs and education from Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

He alleged that the Opposition plans to “give the entire reservation to Muslims”. Modi and other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have repeated this claim several times during election rallies, although the Congress manifesto does not make any mention of religion-based reservations.

The manifesto 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 BJP’s Karnataka unit had also earlier posted an animated video on social media making similar claims. The video featured caricatures of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah placing an egg with “Muslims” written on it in a nest, alongside three other eggs marked as “SC [Scheduled Castes], ST [Scheduled Tribes] and OBC [Other Backward Classes]”.

The video showed Gandhi feeding “funds” to a bird, shown wearing a skullcap, as it hatches out of the “Muslim” egg. It showed the “Muslim” bird pushing away the fledglings that hatch from the other three eggs, followed by the sound of laughter.

The Election Commission on Tuesday directed social media platform X to take down the video, saying that it violated the “extant legal framework”.

On May 2, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in a letter alleged that it was the BJP and not the Opposition that wanted to change the Constitution and end reservation.

“Everyone knows it is the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and BJP who opposed reservations at every stage since 1947,” Kharge wrote. “Everyone knows it is the RSS and BJP which wants to change the Constitution to end reservation. Your leaders have openly spoken about it.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent body of the BJP.

Kharge’s remark was in reference to statements by BJP leaders who have hinted at major changes to the Constitution in the run-up to the general elections.

On March 9, BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde called on voters to ensure a two-thirds majority to his party in the Lok Sabha to enable amendments to the Constitution and undo the “unnecessary laws introduced to subjugate the Hindu community”. BJP leader Jyoti Mirdha on March 30 also said that the party needed an overwhelming majority in Parliament to change the Constitution.

On April 15, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lallu Singh purportedly said: “The government can be formed with 272 MPs in the Lok Sabha, but to make amendments to the Constitution, or to have a new Constitution, we need more than two-thirds majority.”

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