BSP leader Mayawati Tuesday said her party welcomes the constitutional amendment bill proposed by the Centre to provide 10 per cent reservation for the ‘economically weaker’ general castes, however, adding that the move seems like an “election stunt”.
“Lok Sabha chunaav se pehle liya gaya ye faisla humein sahi niyat se liya gaya faisla nahi lagta hai, chunavi stunt lagta hai, rajnitik chalaava lagta hai, acha hota agar BJP apna karyakaal khatam hone se thik pehle nahi balki aur pehle le leti. (We feel the intention behind taking the decision ahead of the Lok Sabha elections is not right, seems like an election stunt, a political deceit. It would have been better if BJP had taken the decision earlier, not at the end of its tenure),” ANI quoted her as saying.
In a significant move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to address demands of “the economically weaker sections of the people who are not covered by any of the existing schemes of reservation”, the BJP-led NDA government Monday decided to amend the Constitution to provide 10 per cent reservation for the general category EWS in direct recruitment for government jobs and admission to higher educational institutions. The bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament.
“BSP’s demand to provide reservation to the economically backward sections in general category is approved by the Cabinet in an immature way and without preparation. Our party, however, welcomes the decision though it appears to be an election stunt and political gimmick of BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls,” Mayawati said in a statement.
The Samajwadi Party has also extended its support to the decision. Speaking to media persons outside the Parliament, SP leader in Rajya Sabha Ram Gopal said, “Yeh jo aarakshan la rahe hain. iska hum samarthan karte hain.” The support of SP and BSP will a major relief for NDA. SP has 13 members in Rajya Sabha while BSP has four. SP also has five members in Lok Sabha.
Mayawati said her party has demanded reservation for economically weak Muslims and other minority communities but BJP did not do “justice” to them and that is condemnable. “The party had written a letter in this regard to the government but Centre took a narrow and communal stand and provided the benefit to only a particular section (upper caste), which is injustice for other sections,” she said.
“In reality, there should be review of reservation provided to SC/ST and OBC and these sections should be provided reservation as per their population by increasing their quota by amending the Constitution,” she said, demanding the implementation of quota in promotions.
Her reaction came a day after other opposition parties too questioned the timing of the Cabinet decision. But they have also extended support, reflecting the decision’s political significance. The BJP has termed the government decision “historic”.
The Congress said it “supports every step to reservation.” Speaking to the media, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said, “Congress has always supported every step to reservation and extending support to the economically poor sections of the society bereft of caste, community or creed. Without interfering with the mandate of the Supreme Court to Dalits, to Adivasis and backward classes in any manner, we have always supported that those, who are poor but not included in these categories, should be given the benefit of opportunities and reservation both in education and employment.”
(Inputs from PTI)