While most opposition parties welcomed the Centre’s decision to carve out 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the general category in education and employment, almost all of them also said that the government’s “hasty” move was with an eye on Lok Sabha elections.
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said, “Please offer reservation in jobs. We welcome it. But when will you create jobs? By destroying jobs through demonetisation and implementing a flawed GST, and then creating reservation in jobs…whom are you trying to really benefit? Where are the jobs?”
Calling it “purely an election gimmick”, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “Economically weaker sections deserve special attention. Prime Minister Narendra Modi first misled the youth. He sold a dream of 2 crore jobs a year (and) miserably failed. Jobs were destroyed because of demonetisation and hasty imposition of a fraud GST. Things have gone bad; the economy is nosediving. So two months before elections, he is again fooling people.”
West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said it will be good if people in the EWS category get jobs due to this reservation but questioned whether the government is “cheating” the people. Maintaining that the Supreme Court has put a 50-per cent cap on quota, she said, “We want proper implementation. We should not cheat the youth for election and political purpose…. They (Centre) have to clarify whether it will be implemented, whether it is Constitutional, whether it is legally valid, and whether it is feasible.”
Stating that the A B Vajpayee government had played a “similar gambit” months before its term ended, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “History repeats itself, this time as a farce…. Modi promised 10 crore new jobs. All we have at the end of his term are job losses and destruction of livelihoods. So such ploys are meaningless. Where are the Jobs?”
Kerala CM and party Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed the move, but said the Centre has taken the decision in view of the Lok Sabha polls.
RJD leader Tejashwai Yadav said, “Reservation was not (meant) to improve financial condition – it was for representation of socially backward people. If the government wants to improve financial condition, the PM should have given Rs 15 lakh (in people’s accounts) and fulfilled its promise of creating 2 crore jobs.”
Delhi CM and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said that the government should extend Parliament session and bring a Constitutional amendment Bill. “Else it is merely an election stunt,” he tweeted.
Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP, who recently quit the NDA, called the decision “jumlabaazi (rhetoric)” with eye on polls. Stating that the JD(U)-BJP government in Bihar constituted a “savarna aayog (upper caste department)”, he asked, “What happened with that aayog? Where is its report? What facilities have been given to savarnas?”
RLD spokesperson Anil Dubey also called it “another jumla”, and if the government was “really serious to do something for welfare of economically weaker upper castes, it would have called an all-party meeting and special session of Parliament”.
NCP’s Nawab Malik wondered whether the move was the “beginning” to cancel reservation for SCs and STs “as per the RSS’ stand”.