Cong misleading minorities on sub-quota: Oppn

New Delhi: Opposition today accused Congress of misleading the minorities on the sub-quota issue, saying its intentions were "not pure", even as the government decided to challenge in Supreme Court the Andhra Pradesh High Court order annulling the Centre`s proposal. Dismissing Law Minister Salman Khurshid`s assertion that the central government will challenge the HC verdict, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "To bring in a category based on religion is not sustainable."

"I think the Law Minister would know better…I think he does not stand a ground on this…The Congress is misleading, particularly the minorities, by saying there is strength in the argument," she said. Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar said in Patna "Congress` intention for giving reservation to Muslims is not pure and the party is raising the issue to mislead them." He said if Congress was at all interested in giving reservation to Muslims, it should bring an amendment to the Constitution on the issue.

CPI leader D Raja said the Union government was "not clear" on the policy of reservation. "As a political party, we are not opposed to Muslims, who are socially and economically backward but here whether reservation can be given in the name of religion – that is the fundamental question. The Union government is not clear. The Union government must understand that reservation cannot be given on the basis of religion," he said.

Justifying the Centre`s decision to carve out 4.5 per cent sub-quota to minorities from within OBC quota, Khurshid said the government will go to the Supreme Court by way of a Special Leave Petition against the Andhra Pradesh HC order. He also said the term minority does not denote only religion but is also linguistic. The minister said the government did not include any new caste from the minorities in the OBC list but did it entirely on the basis of the Mandal Commission report, which had suggested 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.