Even as the JD (U) and Opposition RJD have demanded that the reservation cap be raised, senior BJP leader and Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said the BJP is very much in favour of raising the quota cap, but are not sure about the demand of making reservation proportionate to the population of a caste, as is being demanded by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express: “Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already spoken about caste census by 2021. We are very much in favour of raising reservation cap as it has not been revised for a long time”.
BJP joining chorus a balancing act
The BJP, which considers EWS quota as a masterstroke to consolidate upper caste votes, which account for 12 per cent of the population in Bihar, has joined the chorus in demand of a revision in the quota cap as a balancing act to reach out to EBC, OBC and SC voters. The party wants to blunt any RJD attempt to sharpen the “backward-forward” binary. It has been attacking the RJD for being “anti-upper caste” and does not want an image of being “pro-upper caste” at the expense of OBC and EBC votes.
He said the BJP had already spoken about raising the quota cap and that the RJD was making “unnecessary hue and cry” about it. “Rather, its (RJD) opposition to EWS quota has exposed its antipathy towards economically backward people among upper castes. RJD had also done away with 3 per cent quota for upper castes introduced by the Karpoori Thakur government,” he said.
The Deputy CM said the 2011 social and caste survey report was not published because it had been full of “mistakes and inaccuracies. “There would be a fresh caste census by 2021. There was no point publishing it since it was grossly inadequate.
Asked why the BJP is not supporting the idea of quota being proportionate to the population of a social group, Modi said, “It should be decided by consensus. It can’t be said at this stage if it should be proportionate to population. What we are saying that there is a need to revise the quota cap.”
Modi said the RJD had been trying to deflect people’s attention by talking about starting a movement to raise the quota cap. “The fact remains that Lalu Prasad has been anti-upper caste from the beginning. After having opposed the EWS quota in Parliament, Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi have been giving clarification. They just stand exposed with PM Narendra Modi’s EWS quota move,” he said.