Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A political face-off between the BJP and the Congress has erupted in Madhya Pradesh over the issue of reservation to the backward classes in the state.
Both the parties entered into a verbal spate after organisations reportedly representing the backward classes felicitated the former Chief Minister and state Congress chief Kamal Nath, giving him the credit for the 27 per cent reservation to the backward classes.
Addressing the felicitation ceremony, Kamal Nath said: "Reservation was your (backward classes) right and I gave it to you. As soon as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took over as the Prime Minister, he decided to end the Zamindari system and with the abolishment of the Zamindari, the backward classes were benefitted the most as they had nothing."
He further said that today, there is 52 per cent backward class population in the state, and most of them are facing unemployment.
"I believe that 70 per cent of the jobs should be given to local people, even I had also taken a decision in this regard."
"Our government lasted for 15 months, of which two-and-a-half months were passed in elections. Despite this, the loans of 27 lakh farmers were waived off, out of them the highest number of beneficiaries are from backward classes," Kamal Nath added.
"You all know the history of BJP. Prime Minister Prime Modi talks a lot but never talks about the interest of backward classes. They talk about partition, temples, associating politics with religion, but we talk about connecting hearts, connecting relationships," the Congress leader asserted.
Rajya Sabha MP and state president of Madhya Pradesh Backward Classes Organisation Rajmani Patel thanked Kamal Nath for "giving" 27 per cent reservation to the backward classes and said that the entire backward class society of the state would always lend its support to Kamal Nath and Congress. "By forming the government again in 2023, the people of the state will be freed from the fear, hunger and corruption prevailing under the BJP government."
In retaliation, the BJP attacked the Congress and Kamal Nath. State President of the party's Backward Class Morcha Bhagat Singh Kushwaha has condemned Kamal Nath for "felicitating himself by the so-called backward class organisations".
He said, the political history of Congress is witness to the fact that it has always been conspiring to topple Dalit, backward and tribal leaders.
Kushwaha further claimed the Congress government led by Kamal Nath had attacked the backward classes' interests the most. "For its electoral gains, the Kamal Nath government created a gimmick of 27 per cent reservation and disruptions in the process of panchayat elections to snatch the political rights of the backward classes."
Despite doing "all" this, Kamal Nath is "shamelessly pretending" to respect the people of the same backward class whereas he should have apologised to the people for his "anti-backward class antics", Kushwaha asserted.