Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict upholding the validity of the reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) and said Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC) should get benefit of the existing quota for them on the basis of their population.
Talking to reporters at the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur after returning from campaigning in the poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Baghel said a political "change" is inevitable in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled northern state and the promise of '10 guarantees' made by his party Congress in the hill state has started showing impact.
Asked about the Supreme Court's landmark judgement upholding the constitutionality of the 10 percent reservation granted by the Centre to EWS in admissions and government jobs, the senior Congress leader said, “We welcome the verdict. We want that as per the provision of the Constitution, ST and SC communities should get reservation on the basis of their population.”
“As per the Mandal Commission report, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) should get 27 per cent reservation. We support 10 per cent reservation to EWS,” he added.
Notably, the Chhattisgarh High Court in September this year had set aside the state government's 2012 order (when BJP was in power) to raise the quota to 58 per cent in government jobs and admissions in educational institutions and held that overall reservation exceeding the apex court-mandated 50 per cent ceiling was unconstitutional.
Following the High Court decision, reservation for tribal communities, which comprise about 32 per cent of Chhattisgarh's population, declined to 20 per cent from 32 per cent. Queried about the reservation benefits for STs in the Congress-ruled state, Mr Baghel said,
“This decline in reservation of tribals to 20 per cent happened due to the BJP and now we will rectify it." “I have clearly told tribal communities that whatever is provisioned in the Constitution (for reservation), they will get it and no one can stop it,” the CM said.
Mr Baghel, senior Congress observer for the Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, said a "wave of change" is sweeping the BJP-ruled state and the impact of his party's promise of 10 guarantees in the manifesto is visible on the ground.