Bagalkote: Senior BJP leader Govind Karjol on Monday accused the Congress of carrying out “misinformation campaign” about the internal reservation announced by the Karnataka government among the Scheduled Castes (SC) and “instigating” smaller communities like Banjara and Korama, considered to be BJP supporters.
In an interview to PTI, the Karnataka Irrigation Minister said: “No injustice has been done to them. In fact, there is a hike in reservation for Banjaras, but the Congress is carrying out misinformation campaign, and instigating people. It is wrong,” he said.
Recently, the state government hiked reservation for SCs from 15 to 17 per cent and announced internal reservation on March 24. But smaller SC groups like Banjaras and Bhovis are upset about internal reservation as their quota is restricted at 4.5 per cent.
Asked about the impact of this decision on elections, Karjol said, “They should realise that the government has rather increased the reservation for Banjara, Bhovi and other small SC groups from 3 per cent to 4.5 per cent.”
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While in power the Congress had plans to ‘remove’ such castes from the SC list, he alleged and hit out at the rival party for ‘misguiding’ people on the issue.
“Our government has not done any injustice to these people. There won’t be an impact as SC/ST will vote for us,” he asserted.
Karjol further said the 17 per cent reservation has been distributed among four groups based on the population.
The SC Left category, which consists of 29 communities including Madigas, was awarded 6 per cent of the quota. The SC Right category, which has around 25 communities such as Holeyas, got 5.5 per cent of the quota while ‘touchable’ communities such as Banjaras and Bhovis got 4.5 per cent and the other SC communities got the remaining 1 per cent, he added.
Karjol, who said this will be his last election, believes the exit of senior BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi will not impact the elections because the individual vote bank is less. BJP has its own vote bank as a cadre-based national party.
“I am 73. This is my last election. I will not contest in future,” said Karjol, a five-time MLA from Mudhol SC constituency in Bagalkote district.
The BJP State Vice-President exuded confidence that the party will win all seven assembly seats in Bagalkote district and expect to get a total 130 seats as the party is seeking votes on development plank in assembly elections that will go for voting on May 10.
He also said the series of rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give a fillip to the party.
Karjol has come a long way from a store-keeper in the public works department to deputy chief minister in 2019 and now incharge of the Irrigation Ministry. In 2018, he won the Mudhol seat with a margin of 15,482 votes.
Mudhol has been a BJP stronghold as the party has maintained a winning streak in the constituency.