Recently, the Telangana government decided to convene the Legislative Assembly on April 16 to pass a bill to increase reservation for STs and the backward sections among Muslims. The state Cabinet would meet on April 15 to decide the percentage of reservations, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao told reporters.
Rao, who was speaking after a meeting of the state Cabinet, said the reports of the Backward Classes Commission and also the two commissions appointed to study the conditions of STs and minorities have been accepted.
"On 15th (of April), it will be decided how much per cent is to be given to STs and BC-E (category). We don't call them Muslims (BC-E) anymore," he said.
In an apparent reference to the BJP's opposition to provide quotas to Muslims, the chief minister said the government is not proposing to give reservation on the basis of religion.
The government is only seeking to raise the percentage of reservations currently being availed by backward sections among Muslims in Telangana, he said.
The state government would urge the central government to help in the implementation of its decision, as it was done in the case of Tamil Nadu in the 1990s, as the total percentage of reservation would go beyond the cap of 50 percent, he said.
"We are copying Tamil Nadu as it is. Because the Centre took it (Tamil Nadu's request) up, gave assent and put it in the 9th Schedule (of Constitution, as it cannot be challenged in courts), We are asking the Centre to do the same," Rao said.
He said the Supreme Court had permitted increasing quotas to STs beyond 50 per cent. The Telangana government would go to Supreme Court to give a direction to the Centre in the event of the Centre not accepting the move, he said. There cannot be different laws for different states, he said.
Noting that government is a continuous process whichever party is in power, he hoped that the NDA government would accept the move.
The state government has decided to increase the quotas as 90 percent of the population in Telangana belonged to SC, ST, BC and minorities, he said.
Recalling that the TRS had promised to increase the quotas for minorities and STs in its election manifesto, Rao said the state government is only seeking to implement its promise.
The CM said the Centre should leave certain matters like reservations to state governments as they concerned the states.
Rao added that the government is thinking of increasing the quotas to backward classes in coming months as they constituted a major chunk of the population. The TRS government's move came under immediate criticism from the BJP which warned that it would oppose the "communal reservations" tooth and nail.
Describing the move as the vote-bank politics, BJP floor leader in Assembly G Kishan Reddy said that his party would launch a "people's movement" against the decision to implement reservation to Muslims by including them in backward classes.
"This religion-based reservation is an attempt by the Chief Minister (K Chandrasekhar Rao) to cover up his failures of the last three years. It is clear that they are indulging in vote-bank politics," Telangana BJP president K Laxman said.
BJP in Telangana has been on the warpath on the issue for long.