PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Mumbai: Senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal Friday said the decision to grant 10 per cent reservation to the economically poor in general category was not taken keeping in mind elections as it was under consideration for long a time. He also expressed confidence that the BJP would once again form the government at the Centre and the country will witness “more achhe din” after that.

“Our government does not work keeping elections in mind. We take decisions that are beneficial for the country at large…This (10 per cent EWS quota) has been under discussion since a long time,” the railway minister said. He said that they realised that while the issues of social backwardness and educational backwardness were addressed, there was a large section evidently left out.

“Sections from different religions and communities were not able to get a better deal for education and job opportunities. Therefore, we thought of making some constitutional amendments,” the BJP leader told reporters.

In a major move ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Union Cabinet recently cleared a 10 per cent job and education quota for the “economically weaker” sections, meeting a key demand of upper castes, a staunch BJP support base which has shown signs of a drift from the party.

The proposed reservation will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking the total reservation to 60 per cent. Goyal also listed the achievements of the Modi-led government.

To a query whether the Modi government was able to fulfil its promise of bringing ‘achhe din’, he said, “I think the sad part is that many people don’t realise that ‘achhe din’ is an ongoing process.” He said the government had brought unprecedented development and improved the living standards of people of the country and added that a lot had been done and a lot more needed to be done.

“We are very confident that we are going to form the next government too, and the country is all set to see more ‘achhe din’ in the coming days,” the Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra said.

“Road and rail networks have become more robust. We have given an unprecedented amount of money for the suburban trains in Mumbai. In the last five years, enormous work has been done, which could not be done in 50 years, mostly under the Congress rule,” Goyal added.

He listed various infrastructure projects and development schemes, including the construction of Bogibeel bridge, which is the longest road-cum-rail bridge in Asia, and the Benami Property Act that led to “several convictions”.

Goyal said that government endeavoured to expedite the pending and stalled projects and curb corruption.

“We changed the way projects were conceptualised, finalised, planned and then implemented. We have shown will power to do the work. This is why, we ask people whether they want a majboot sarkar (strong government) or majboor sarkar (helpless government),” he added.

“We have not only strengthened the internal security by dealing with Maoists and Naxals with an iron hand, but have also held our head high in the international arena,” he said.

Goyal added that under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the BJP-led government has increased sanitation coverage to 95 per cent from 34 per cent in 2014.

To a query whether bullet train project would miss its deadline, Goyal said, “Barring a few cases that have landed in the court, we are more or less on time. We are making our project monitoring system more robust.”

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