Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel on Monday said that he would welcome the Union government’s move to give 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker section of general category only if it is done through constitutional amendment.
The PAAS leader, who has been leading an agitation demanding OBC quota for Patidars for the last three years, however, cautioned that the reservation decision could just be another “election jumla” (poll gimmick) of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to get votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“I welcome the move if it is done through constitutional amendment. I don’t welcome it if it is simply an election gimmick, aimed at attracting votes. Constitutional amendment is mandatory to implement it,” Hardik told mediapersons.
How overkill diluted quota movement
Three years ago, Hardik’s movement demanding OBC quota benefits status for Patidars had captured the imagination of the youth of the community perceived as wealthy land owners. Over the years, the idea has seen an overkill, with several communities across the country joining quota chorus. Last month, just as Maharashtra announced a quota for Marathas, the Gujarat government listed 69 castes and sub groups as “unreserved classes”. With the latest announcement, the BJP has stumped the likes of Hardik.
“Will the BJP amend the Constitution for implementing its decision before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, or after it? That is the question. It is a decision taken in haste… The Union cabinet has only given its approval for it. No survey has been conducted to complete legal formalities…. What is its use, if it proves to be another election lollipop. I can say that it is just an election jumla as the Lok Sabha elections are approaching,” he said.
He cited a decision taken by the Gujarat government to offer 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections among upper castes, which was quashed by the Gujarat High Court.
He also alleged the Centre’s move could be a ploy to weaken quota agitations like the one led by PAAS by creating a rift between people of reserved and unreserved categories.