Rajasthan Government to Reevaluate OBC Status for 14 Muslim Communities
Rajasthan Government to Reevaluate OBC Status for 14 Muslim Communities

Jaipur: The Rajasthan government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), plans to reevaluate the reservation status provided to 14 Muslim communities classified under the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category, according to Avinash Gehlot, the state's social justice and empowerment minister, on Saturday.

"The Congress government provided reservations to these 14 Muslim communities under the OBC category between 1997 and 2013 as part of their appeasement politics. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar stated in the constitution that reservations cannot be granted to a specific community based on religion. We have all the relevant circulars, and thus we will review this," Gehlot said while addressing reporters in Jaipur.

The BJP has raised the issue of reservations given to Muslims during the ongoing general elections, arguing that these reservations were unlawfully granted at the expense of deserving Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and other OBCs.

On Wednesday, the Calcutta High Court revoked the OBC certificates of 77 communities in West Bengal, 75 of which were Muslim communities. The court found the classification process by the West Bengal government illegitimate, stating that labelling these communities as OBCs for electoral gains undermined democracy and the Constitution, leaving them vulnerable to political manipulation and denying other rights.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a rally in Dwarka, Uttar Pradesh, called the court’s decision a “tight slap” to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government. He criticized the West Bengal government for issuing unwarranted OBC certificates to Muslims for vote-bank politics, describing it as an extreme form of appeasement.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated on Thursday that the Banerjee-led government had granted OBC status to around 118 Muslim communities without proper procedures or surveys. The high court, recognizing this issue, cancelled the certificates issued between 2010 and 2024. He welcomed the verdict, accusing Banerjee of prioritizing Muslim reservations over deserving OBCs to maintain her vote bank.

Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma commented on Thursday that the verdict ended Banerjee’s appeasement politics, as the Constitution does not allow religion-based reservations.

Gehlot claimed that his department had received numerous complaints about such “religion-based reservations” in recent months. He announced the formation of a high-level committee to review these complaints.

Rajasthan currently provides 64% reservation: 21% for OBCs, 16% for SCs, 12% for STs, 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), and 5% for Most Backward Classes (MBC). According to the Rajasthan Social Justice and Empowerment Department (SJED), 82 communities fall under the OBC category, with around 29 being Muslim communities.

In response to Gehlot’s statement, Congress spokesperson Swarnim Chaturvedi argued that the decision was politically motivated. He pointed out that it was the BJP government that approved reservations for these Muslim communities under OBC between 1997 and 2013, and the Congress government merely continued this practice based on the Mandal Commission report of 1990.

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