Special reservation, wealth distribution for Muslims: Karnataka BJP makes false claims about Congress manifesto

By: Mohammad Salman
April 24 2024

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Special reservation, wealth distribution for Muslims: Karnataka BJP makes false claims about Congress manifesto

Screenshot of the viral post.(Source: X/ Screenshot)


The Verdict False

The Congress manifesto does not mention any provisions, laws, or schemes specifically targeted at the Muslim community.

Claim ID 36f4b266

What is the claim?

On April 23, the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shared a post on its official X (formerly Twitter) account, claiming that in light of the ongoing Indian general elections, the rival Congress party has prepared a manifesto promising wealth distribution, special reservations, policies, and job appointments for Muslims. The Karnataka BJP unit has claimed in the post that the Congress manifesto contains several divisive agendas.

BJP Karnataka highlighted the below-mentioned six allegedly promised the Congress manifesto:

  1. Hijab enforcement in educational institutions

  2. Wealth distribution for Muslims

  3. Special reservations for Muslims

  4. Freedom to practice personal laws

  5. Muslims to be directly appointed as judges

  6. Mandate to public & private entities to hire Muslims

The post, which had over 27,000 views at the time of publishing, also questioned whether this was the "Congress manifesto or the Muslim League's manifesto?" See an archived version of the post here.

Screenshot of the viral post.(Source: X/ Screenshot)

On April 21, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing an election rally in Banswara, Rajasthan, questioned the Congress over its manifesto and alleged that the latter wants to distribute people's wealth to Muslims. His controversial remarks on Congress' plan for 'wealth redistribution' became viral and started circulating with different claims.

However, we read the Congress manifesto word by word, in both Hindi and English, but could not find any mention of the six polarising agendas highlighted by Karnataka BJP on social media.

What is the truth?

To verify the claims made by Karnataka BJP, we went through the different sections of the Congress manifesto one by one.

Hijab enforcement in educational institutions?

Under the 'Education' section in its manifesto, called the 'Nyaya Patra' (Justice Letter), the Congress party has promised specific action points for developing education and educational institutions in the country; nowhere in the 25 points under this section does the manifesto say that wearing of hijab, a veil worn by some Muslim women, will be enforced in educational institutions. The manifesto, however, talks about protecting students' freedom of expression.

Screenshot from the 'Education' section of the Congress manifesto. (Source: Congress)

Wealth distribution for Muslims?

We found no specific mention of 'wealth redistribution' for Muslims in the Congress manifesto. Under the 'Social Justice' section, the party said it will conduct a nationwide socio-economic census to assess the status of castes and sub-castes, and steps will be taken for their improvement accordingly. 

The manifesto also adds that the empowerment of the minority community is essential. In the manifesto, the party says that it will draft a policy to facilitate easy loans for them. The next point in the manifesto states that the party will ensure that minorities receive equal opportunities in education, healthcare, public employment, public contracts, skill development, sports, and cultural activities without discrimination. However, it makes no mention of 'distributing property' to Muslims.

In his manifesto launch speech in Telangana on April 6 Rahul Gandhi also talked about how a financial and institutional survey would help determine the share of the backward classes, Dalits, tribals, economically weaker sections of society, and minorities in the nation's wealth, and ensure their rights based on the same. However, he, too, did not make any mention of the proposed alleged distribution of property to Muslims.

Special reservation for Muslims?

Under the 'Social Justice' section in the manifesto, Congress also promised to remove the 50 percent cap on reservations for Scheduled CastesTribes, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) through a constitutional amendment.

The manifesto further states that the "reservation of 10 percent in jobs and educational institutions for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) will be implemented for all castes and communities without discrimination." The manifesto does not promise any separate reservations specifically for Muslims.

Screenshot from the 'Social Justice' section of the manifesto. (Source: Congress)

Freedom to practice personal laws?

Under the ‘Religious and Linguistic Minorities’ section, Congress promises to “respect and uphold the fundamental right to practice one’s faith and the rights guaranteed to religious minorities” in the Indian constitution. The seventh point in the section states that the party will ensure that “like every citizen, minorities have the freedom of choice of dress, food, language, and personal laws.” The next point talks about “reforms in personal laws,” but only with the consent and participation of the communities concerned. There is no specific mention of the personal laws followed by Muslims.

Screenshot from the 'Religious and Linguistic Minorities' section. (Source: Congress)

Muslims to be directly appointed as judges?

This claim in the viral post is also false. The fifth point under the 'Judiciary' section of the Congress manifesto states, "More women and persons belonging to the SC, ST, OBC, and minorities will be appointed as judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court." This section of the manifesto does not talk about directly appointing Muslims as judges. We have also fact-checked the same claim here.

Screenshot from the 'Judiciary' section of the manifesto. (Source: Congress)

'Mandate' to public and private entities to hire Muslims?

Congress has made significant announcements under its manifesto's 'Youth' section. The first point guarantees a one-year apprenticeship with a private or a public sector company to 'every diploma holder or college graduate below the age of 25'. The manifesto further promises to fill the nearly 30 lakh vacancies at various levels in the central government. The manifesto makes no mention of giving priority to any particular community for the paid apprenticeships . 

Screenshot from the 'Social Youth' section of the Congress manifesto. (Source: Congress/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, Congress has called for establishing a 'Diversity Commission' to ascertain and promote diversity in public and private employment and education. The manifesto nowhere mentions that public and private institutions will be ordered to employ Muslims.

The verdict

It is clear from our research that the Congress manifesto does not mention special reservations and provisions, wealth distribution, laws, or schemes for Muslims. Therefore, we have marked the claims made by BJP Karnataka false.

(Translated by Azra Ali)

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