Even as Union Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed continued insisting that the constitution did not provide for giving reservation to Muslims, the Lok Jan Shakti Party attacked him by saying that he had dashed hopes of 20 crore people belonging to the minority communities.
While suggesting other means of affirmative action for the betterment of the largely backward community, Khursheed said, “There is no point getting into a futile argument on reservation for Muslims till a constitutional amendment enables it.”
He, of course, did not reject the idea out of hand, saying: “One day, it might be possible if you get consensus in the country and you get a constitutional instrument by which it (reservation) can be done.”
But the LJP expressed disappointment over the minister’s statement, the party reminding the Congress about the promise made by it in its poll manifesto.”
Reacting on this, a Congress leader said, “All we have said in the manifesto is that any Muslim backward group not in the central list of OBCs can be brought in it. It may be attractive in a manifesto but we didn’t promise anything beyond that.”
LJP spokesperson Abdul Khaliq also recalled the setting up of Rangnath Mishra Commission by the previous UPA government, which had recommended 15 per cent reservation for religious minorities. Of this, 10 per cent reservation was recommended exclusively for Muslims.
Also, the LJP has demanded tabling of the commission report in Parliament along with action taken report (ATR) for a meaningful debate on the issue.
But Khursheed, a noted legal practitioner, seemed pretty dismissive of the report: “Rangnath Commission report will have to be first deciphered by Parliament and the government.”