Quota row: Bihar Oppn looks at reservation as weapon

Quota row: Bihar Opposition looks to make reservation a weapon ahead of Assembly polls

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav tweeted in Hindi: “Why the BJP was hell-bent upon ending reservation system?" Credit: PTI image

Bereft of issues to attack the BJP-led NDA in Bihar in an election year, the apex court ruling on reservation could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Opposition parties here.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, ruled that the reservation in jobs and promotions for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) was not a fundamental right. The apex court ruling could play a major and decisive role in the ensuing elections in caste-ridden Bihar where there are merely 15 per cent upper castes (also called forwards), while the rest 85 per cent comprises OBCs (other backward class), Dalits and minorities.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav tweeted in Hindi: “Why the BJP was hell-bent upon ending reservation system? The apex court ruling has come on the decision of the BJP Government in Uttarakhand. It’s high time the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre file a review petition in the Supreme Court. Or, bring in an amendment making reservation a fundamental right.”

The Congress too backed the RJD leader. “No power on earth can dilute reservation facilities for SCs and STs,” said senior Congress legislator Prem Chandra Mishra.

NDA ally Chirag Paswan, the new LJP president and son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, also expressed his reservations through his tweet. “Recent judgement of supreme court says that states are not bound to provide quotas for SC/ST or OBC in Government job and that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in promotions. This is entirely against the concept of reservation,” tweeted Chirag.        

REPLICA OF 2015 POLLS

Call it a coincidence but it was precisely five years ago, during the 2015 Assembly elections, when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made a gaffe in Patna by advocating to end reservations. Making such a plea in a state which has not seen any ‘forward’ caste Chief Minister ever since Mandal Commission was implemented in 1990, this was a major blunder by the BJP’s parent organisation RSS. And this turned the tables upside down in a poll which was so bitterly contested and seen as a prestige battle between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. The maverick Lalu Prasad, then with Nitish, exploited the RSS goof-up and made the BJP bite the dust. The RSS later gave numerous clarifications on how Bhagwat’s statements had been twisted, but it was too little too late.

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