Hyderabad: Ahead of the crucial one-day session of the State Legislature convened on Sunday for passage of the enhanced reservation quota for Muslims and STs, the TD and BJP accusing the government of lacking sincerity in bringing the Bill while the Congress welcomed the move but sought to know how the obstacles in its implementations would be overcome.
Interestingly, the government was not able to send copies of the Bill to the Opposition during the Business Advisory Committee Meeting chaired by the Assembly Speaker and Legislative Council Chairman on Saturday evening.
This gave BJP leader Kishan Reddy an opportunity to ask the Chief Minister how and what they can talk about when the legislators were not even able to see the copies of the Bills even a few hours before commencement of the session. He also wanted the government to release the Bills along with copies of the Sudheer Commission and BC Commission reports for the Members to study.
Speaking to the media after the BAC meeting, Mr Kishan Reddy expressed serious concern over the proposal and demanded the government to explain why it had put both the Muslim and ST quota hike in one Bill.
He said that there was every possibility of STs losing both enhanced and existing reservation quota in case the Bill is struck down by the courts.
“We demand enhanced reservations to SCs and STs based on their increased population as this is permitted by the Constitution but not Muslim reservation as it was already struck down by High Court twice earlier. By clubbing Muslim and ST quota in one Bill, the TRS government’s intention is to politicise the issue and does not reflect its sincerity,” Mr Kishan Reddy said.
Meanwhile, TD legislators and senior leaders held a meeting after which they warned the government against hiking Muslim reservations without doing the same for BCs.
TD working president A. Revanth Reddy said in case government decides to hike the Muslim quota as per the community’s population in the state, the TD wants BC quota hiked from the existing 25 per cent to 52 per cent, based on their population. “If the CM is sincere in implementing quota for all backward communities, let it hike Muslim and ST quota to 12 per cent each as promised and another 27 per cent to BCs so that we will have no objection in approving total reservations,” he said.
Mr Revanth Reddy said that the TD will take up mass agitation if BC quota increase is denied. He also said that there is every danger to the enhanced Muslim quota as courts had objected to such a move earlier and struck it down.
Incidentally, TD MLAs will not be able to attend Sunday’s session in view of their suspension from the House during Budget session. Since the one-day session is an extension of the Budget session that has not been prorogued by the government yet, the suspension of the TD MLAs for the ‘rest of session’ will be in force.
When Speaker S. Madhusudana Chary convened the Business Advisory Committee meeting on Saturday evening, Legislature Affairs Minister T. Harish Rao objected to the presence of TD MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah in the meeting and told him that since he was suspended along with other TD Members for the entire Budget session he cannot attend either the BAC or House.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Shabbir Ali slammed the BJP for describing minorities quota as a “religious reservation”.
He said when BJP has given 10 per cent quota to the Patel community in Gujarat and another 15 per cent to Gujjars and Jats in Rajasthan, why was it not religious reservation.
Criticising Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu’s comments on Muslim quota, Mr Shabbir Ali said the words were of a RSS leader and not a Union Minister.
He said that the Congress welcomed the increase in reservations for STs and backward Muslims, but said that he would ask the government how it plans to overcome the legal and Constitutional hurdles in this regard.