Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi while participating in a discussion on the backward commission at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) National Executive meet Sunday intervened and called for "more inclusiveness for those who are backward among the Muslim community".
According to the reports, Prime Minister Modi's intervention came on the second day of the BJP conclave while it was holding a strategy session for a new bill meant to grant constitutional status to the OBC Commission.
Interestingly, while Prime Minister Modi was asserting in Bhubaneswar that more inclusiveness is needed for backward Muslims, some 1000 kms away in Hyderabad at the same time the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators were creating ruckus in the Telangana assembly to protest introduction of a bill to increase reservation for backward Muslims and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Poulation of Muslims in India as per the 2011 Census Reports is about 14% - majority of them belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC). Prime Minister Modi himself comes from an OBC caste.
Playing the OBC card, the BJP hit out at opposition parties, including the Congress, for stalling what it called the historic bill granting constitutional status to the OBC Commission and asserted that the Modi government was firm on its resolve to ensure justice to backward castes.
"The OBCs have been demanding constitutional status for the past 30 years. However, the Congress did not do it because of votebank politics," said Human Resource and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.
"The bill has been sent to the Select Committee. It is unfortunate," he added.
The Modi government planned to disband the National Commission for Backward Classes - set up by a 1993 law - and replace it with the new constitutional entity.
"The present commission is “powerless” and cannot do justice to the OBCs, Javadekar said while asserting that the central government is firm on the bill’s passage.
"It will give the commission powers similar to the SCs and the STs commissions", he added.
The Lok Sabha, where the government enjoys a majority, passed the constitutional amendment bill during the recent budget session but the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP is short of the needed number, stalled the bill and sent it to a parliamentary committee for review and recommendations.