Paswan slams BJP over anti-reservation remarks

Paswan slams BJP over anti-reservation remarks

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan has taken umbrage at senior BJP leader C P Thakur’s assertion that provisions of reservation for Dalits in jobs and educational institutions should end.

Mincing no words in slamming the former Union health minister, who worked with him in the Vajpayee Cabinet, Paswan said, “Those who favour putting an end to reservation for Dalits are either ignorant of the ground realities or are in a hurry to display their anti-Dalit mindset. Reservation is the right of Dalits and weaker sections, and it should continue.”

Paswan, the new-found ally of the BJP, who quit the UPA and joined the NDA in February, is seething with rage because such statements by BJP leaders against weaker sections of society could upset his applecart in Hajipur, a reserved constituency, where polling is due on May 7. In 2009, he had lost from his fiefdom.

The Bihar unit of the BJP immediately got into fire-fighting mode, distancing itself from the statement of Thakur, who had said, “The provisions for quota were made in the Constitution initially for 10 years. After more than 60 years of Independence, reservation for Dalits are no more required, either in jobs or educational institutions.”

Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey, trying to douse the fire after Paswan slammed Thakur, an upper-caste Bhumihar leader, said, “The BJP completely disagrees and disassociates itself with Thakur’s observations.”

Though Thakur later modified his statement, saying the issue needs to be discussed in Parliament, it evoked angry reactions from the Congress and the Janata Dal (United), or the JD(U), who slammed the saffron party for such “outrageous remarks”.

“We have been saying from Day One that the BJP is a pro-rich and anti-Dalit party. It cares only for capitalists, and does little for the weaker and oppressed sections,” said senior Congress leader and in-charge of Bihar affairs Satyavrat Chaturvedi.

“Thakur’s statement reflects the BJP’s anti-Constitutional approach and the self-destructive path it has chosen,” said Bihar JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh.

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