Quota storm blows up in Govt’s face

New Delhi : Caught in a storm following Mohan Bhagwat”s demand to re-look reservations, the RSS and BJP rushed to control the damage caused by the ”untimely” remark of the RSS chief. However, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and other parties had already grabbed the explosive comments of Mohan Bhagwat and launched a virulent attack on the BJP and Sangh Parivar. Even the BJP’s allies in Bihar did not waste time in disagreeing with Bhagwat.

With the full scale campaign for Bihar assembly elections just taking off, senior minister Ravishankar Prasad clarified that the BJP was not in favour of reconsideration of reservation policy for SCs, STs and OBCs. He added that they firmly believed that reservations had helped the concerned sections of society. While confident of gaining full support of the upper castes, the BJP is particularly eyeing the EBCs and Yadavs in Bihar to broad base its votebank in this all-important election.

In an official statement, RSS publicity in charge Manmohan Vaidya said ”Mohan Bhagwat had not made any comment on existing reservation given to weak and deprived segments of society. He said that everybody should work to ensure that the benefit of reservation reaches the weaker sections as envisaged by the makers of the constitution”, the statement read.

In an interview to RSS” publications Panchjanya and Organiser, Bhagwat had said that it was necessary to take a call on whether reservation had really achieved what the constitution makers had thought it should. He suggested that a committee be formed which may also have political representatives but let people with ”sense of service” decide who should get reservation.

Predictably, the RSS chief”s remarks have been severely contested by leaders of almost all political parties with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad taking the lead. Those taking a diametrically opposite position from Bhagwat included the BJP”s Bihar ally the RLSP led by union minister Upendra Kushwaha.

Early on Monday, Lalu attacked Mohan Bhagwat saying ”you want to end reservation and we want to increase quota.” In a rustic, challenging tone Lalu tweeted, ”Mai ka doodh piya hai to arakshan khatm karke dikhao”. Lalu further remarked that the RSS” ”conspiracy” to create an anti-quota atmosphere would never succeed since eighty percent of the Indian society comprised Dalits, Backward castes and deprived sections.

JDU national spokesperson KC Tyagi condemned Bhagwat”s remark saying this was a clear violation of the Constitution as reservation was enshrined in the Constitution of India. Tyagi alleged that the RSS had had nothing to do with the independence struggle or the making of the constitution.

More embarrassing for the BJP was its ally RLSP”s reaction on the controversial remark of Bhagwat. RLSP secretary general Shivraj Singh said ”there was no question of agreeing on (on the issue) as reservation is mandated by the Constitution of India and for us the issue is settled.”

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