Sonia steps in to clear air on caste-based reservation

Sonia steps in to clear air on caste-based reservation

With senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi’s remarks on caste-based reservation triggering a controversy, AICC president Sonia Gandhi was forced to step-in to assure the SC/ST and OBC groups of the party’s commitment to quotas.

Dwivedi’s suggestion on Tuesday that caste should not be the sole criterion for doling out special measures for the weaker sections of the society triggered an uproar in Parliament with key UPA supporters SP and BSP accusing the Congress of hatching a conspiracy to do away with caste-based reservations.

The BJP and the Akali Dal questioned the timing of Dwivedi’s remarks and said it was part of the Congress' votebank politics with an eye on the upcoming elections.

With the party ill-affording a controversy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi jumped in to rein in the situation. In a strong rebuff to Dwivedi, Gandhi asserted that there should be “no doubt or ambiguity” over the party's stand on caste-based reservations.

In a two-page statement issued on Wednesday evening, she said: “There should be no doubt or ambiguity on the stand of the Congress on the system of reservation for SC/ST and OBCs. They were introduced by Congress, they have been strengthened by the Congress and they will continue to be championed by the Congress.”

Gandhi said the Congress was of the “firm opinion” that the system of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs must continue. “This is essential to deal with the discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression,” she said.

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