The ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress on Thursday sparred over the 10 per cent reservation granted to the economically weaker sections (EWS) after Congress leader Amit Chavda moved a private member’s Bill seeking a separate 20 per cent reservation for Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) in the state. The Bill was eventually rejected by the House with the BJP members voting against it.
After the Bill was tabled in the House, the BJP accused the Congress of “trying to keep the issue of reservation for EWS alive for political gains even though the Narendra Modi-led central government had resolved it by giving 10 per cent EWS quota bthrough a constitutional amendment”.
Tabling the private member’s Bill, Chavda, who represents Anklav constituency in the House, said that the demand for reservation for EBCs was raised from Gujarat because of privatisation and commercialisation of education and culture of corruption and scams in government jobs. Without naming any community, Chavda said,
“The youths of a community that got the BJP in power, in both Gujarat and at the Centre, were martyred by the government with the force of the system after they expressed their anguish,” Chavda, who is also the president of the Gujarat unit, said.
Chavda said that in 2017, the Congress had introduced a private member’s Bill seeking 20 per cent reservation for EWS. “We also supported the 10 per cent EWS reservation introduced by the Centre and got it passed in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha… But, we clearly believe that 20 per cent EBC reservation is required,” Chavda said.
With this, Chavda also demanded that the state government must also take care of the people of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Class (OBC) “who are upset”. “In the name of (the new 13-point) roster system (in university recruitment), the BJP is attacking the rights of SCs, STs and OBCs…There is every possibility of injustice being meted out to youth of these communities in the coming days. The government must take care of them as well,” Chavda added.
Opposing Chavda’s EBC quota Bill, BJP MLA from Visnagar constituency Rushikesh Patel said that he was unable to understand, if the Congress had brought the Bill for the welfare of EBC community or for itself. Patel accused the Congress of inciting the violent Patidar reservation stir for political gains. “You want to keep the issue alive…Congress does not have any interest in it, if the reservation is 10 per cent of 20 per cent…They are trying to create an illusion of figures like 10 per cent and 20 per cent to keep the issue alive…else, in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP will win all 26 seats (in Gujarat),” added Patel.
Speaking on the Bill, Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Ishvar Parmar said that the BJP has given 10 per cent EWS reservation without touching upon the quota earmarked for the SCs, STs and OBCs.
Parmar alleged that the Congress could be behind the petition that challenged the 10 per cent EWS reservation announced by the state government. Without naming anybody, Parmar said that a former chief minister used to say that he would ensure that the women of Patidar community remained in abject poverty. The statement created furore among Congress MLAs who demanded that the minister either produce evidence or withdraw his words.
The Bill was then put to a vote and was rejected after a majority of the members opposed it.