'BJP is weakening the constitution': Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi criticise Centre over  SC verdict on reservation
Photo: ANI

The Congress on Monday accused the BJP and the RSS of being against reservation and the progress of Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Other Backward Castes in the country.

"BJP and RSS' ideology is against reservations. They never want SC/STs to progress. They are breaking the institutional structure. I want to tell SCs, STs, OBCs and Dalits that we will never let reservations come to an end no matter how much Modi Ji or Mohan Bhagwat dream of it," Rahul Gandhi told reporters.

Echoing his words, All India Congress Committee General Secretary, Priyanka Gandhi added, that the "RSS people constantly make statements against reservation".

Citing a news article Priyanka wrote, "BJP ka aarakhshan khatam karne ka tarika samjhiye".

She then listed out three points, including the above mentioned. According to her, the next step was the one taken by Uttarakhand BJP.

"The BJP government of Uttarakhand makes an appeal in the Supreme Court to abolish the fundamental right to reservation. The government of Uttar Pradesh also immediately starts tampering with the reservations," she wrote.

"The BJP first tried to weaken the laws that protect Dalit tribals from atrocities. Now they are weakening the constitution and equal rights given by Babasaheb," she contended.

Their statements come in the wake of the fact that the BJP government of Uttarakhand recently contended in the Supreme Court that there was no fundamental right to claim reservation in appointments or promotions in public posts, and there was no constitutional duty on the part of the state governments to provide reservations.

Recently, the Supreme Court had said that reservation in promotions for government jobs is not a fundamental right, in connection with a case concerning the BJP-ruled Uttarakhand government.

"In view of the law laid down by this court, there is no doubt that the state government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions," a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta had said.

On Sunday, the Congress party had asked the BJP to clear its stand on reservation for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes in government jobs and promotions.

"Reservation pinches their [BJP's] DNA. The real issue is that the RSS and BJP cannot stand the idea that the ST/SCs have been given reservation. The legal counsel on behalf of the Uttarakhand government had put forth these arguments in the court," Rahul Gandhi had said.

The party also questioned the recent judgement of Supreme Court in which the top court said the state governments are not bound to provide quotas to SCs, STs or OBCs in promotions and jobs in the state government.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday the Government that it was not a party in the Supreme Court which has ordered that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said the Centre was also not asked to file an affidavit on the issue.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said the government and the BJP must spell out corrective measures if they do not agree with the Supreme Court judgement on reservation not being mandatory as they cannot distance themselves from it.

"The government and the BJP cannot distance themselves from the Supreme Court's judgement on reservation not being mandatory.

"If the BJP does not agree with the judgement, let it say so and spell out the corrective measures," he said on Twitter.

"Uttarakhand government has taken a stand that state governments are not bound to provide reservation in promotions. The Centre had earlier went to the Supreme Court to challenge the Delhi High Court's judgement which said that reservations should not apply on promotions. The Centre is still pursuing that case in the Supreme Court," said Congress spokesperson Dr Udit Raj at a press conference.

"The views of the Centre and the state government are, therefore, contradictory on this. The BJP should, therefore, clarify its stand on reservations to ST/SCs in jobs and promotions," he added.

Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik said that his party disagrees with the Supreme Court's judgement.

(With inputs from agencies)

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