New Delhi: A political storm erupted over Centre's decision to fix a 4.5 percent share for minorities within the 27 percent OBC reservation with BJP opposing it warning of a "civil war" while Samajwadi Party and CPI-M called it 'tokenism' and demanded increasing the sub-quota.

The ruling Congress on its part welcomed the decision taken by the Union Cabinet, saying it was a "praiseworthy" step and that the party was only fulfilling a promise given in its manifesto for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The decision, which would benefit all minorities listed as Other Backward Classes(OBC), was taken yesterday ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

"The quota within quota is Congress party's dangerous political game, which can lead to a civil war among the different communities and castes," said BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Naqvi's party colleague Anant Kumar said the quota- -within-a-quota for government jobs and university seats is "wrong" and that the party will oppose the decision.

"Backward classes need to be empowered. They should get social justice. We are not in favour of this move. We are against this," he said. BJP's key ally JD(U) also opposed the
decision.

Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Cabinet decision was nothing but "deception" and demanded that minorities should get at least 18 percent reservation. He rejected suggestions that his demand was a political stunt.

"At least 18 percent reservation should be given. 4.5 percent means nothing. It should be done according to the population of minorities. This is deception," the former UP Chief Minister, who is making a strong bid to woo Muslims to regain power, told reporters.

Muslims account for 18 percent of UP's estimated 200 million population and hold the key in nearly a fifth of its assembly constituencies.

The CPI(M) said the sub-quota was "most inadequate" and "tokenism", and sought a constitutional amendment to implement 15 percent reservation for minorities.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh said Congress had promised reservation for OBC Muslims in its election manifesto for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

"That promise has been fulfilled," he said.

(Agencies)