HYDERABAD: Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has decided to launch a nationwide agitation to seek power for state governments to decide on reservations for Muslims, tribals and other backward classes (OBCs).
KCR will organise a dharna in Delhi to press the demand, and is mobilising support from other states that have raised similar demands.
The TRS government wants to increase reservations to 62% – much beyond the SC-imposed 50% cap – and has sought its inclusion in the Constitution’s Ninth Schedule to thwart legal challenge. “KCR has already spoken to the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Maharashtra on the issue. They have also supported the cause. He is planning to sit on a dharna at Jantar Mantar, questioning the Centre’s bias in allowing state governments to raise quota,” said a Telangana minister.
The CM is holding talks with MPs of Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, BJD, JD(U) and JD(S).
KCR wants to raise the quota for Muslims from 4% to 12% and the state assembly has already passed a resolution. He’s also calling for a hike in reservations for Scheduled Tribes from 6% to 10%, based on the state’s tribal population.
Currently, Telangana also provides 15% reservation to SCs and 25% to OBCs under four categories labelled A, B, C and D. In 2007, the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government of united Andhra Pradesh had enacted a law providing a 4% quota to economically backward Muslims by creating a separate group, ‘E’, under the OBC category, exclusively for minorities. Under this system, 14 classes of Muslims were listed as OBCs, taking the total quota strength to 50%.
However, it was challenged in court and the case is pending before the Supreme Court. “While Tamil Nadu was allowed 69% reservations, how can the Centre deny the same to Telangana? When all north-eastern states are enjoying more than 50% reservations for STs, why not Telangana, where tribal population is more than 10%?” asked state minister T N Rao.
KCR is preparing a road map to take the issue to the national level and build a forum. Since Rajasthan and Karnataka are also demanding more quota, he is trying to build a platform to mount pressure on the NDA government.
Rajasthan has been trying to come out with ways to raise reservations for Gujjars, Haryana for Jats and Gujarat for Patidars. BJP’s manifesto in UP promised 90% job reservations for locals and Karnataka is planning a 100% quota for Kannadigas in non-IT, non-BT blue-collar jobs, and its CM has said he proposes to bring a law to provide 70% quota to SC, ST, OBCs in the state and push for its inclusion in the Ninth Schedule.