Opposition paint BJP anti-quota over Bhagwat's remarks

Opposition paint BJP anti-quota over Bhagwat's remarks

Opposition parties on Monday launched a vitriolic attack on the RSS and the BJP, accusing them on being “anti-backward classes” and advising the saffron family to “shed anti-reservation tag”.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has yet again landed the BJP in soup with remarks calling for a conversation on the topic of reservation.

Latching on to it, Opposition parties on Monday launched a vitriolic attack on the RSS and the BJP, accusing them on being “anti-backward classes” and advising the saffron family to “shed anti-reservation tag”.

As the Opposition pounced upon the saffron family, a day after Bhagwat’s reservation remarks, RSS Publicity Head Arun Kumar on Monday issued a statement, dismissing the controversy as a “needless” one.

Asserting that the RSS has made it clear time and again that it fully supports reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes and those getting quota on economic grounds, Kumar said that Bhagwat had merely stressed on the importance of addressing issues in society through talks in harmony and called for considering a sensitive issue like reservation in a similar manner.

"A needless controversy is being sought to be created over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's address at a programme in Delhi,” he said.

The controversy has erupted at a time when the BJP is bracing for polls in three party-ruled states— Maharasthra, Haryana and Jharkhand— this year and Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Delhi in February next year.

Even Bihar, where the NDA is ruling under the leadership of JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar amid frequent strains between the two allies, goes to polls in the last quarter of 2020.

In 2015 Bihar polls, the BJP had lost the Assembly elections before the combined might of Lalu Prasads’ RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), who had then made a big issue of Bhagwat’s remarks calling for “review” of reservation.

Both leaders, championing backward class politics, had then painted the BJP anti-reservation even though both the RSS and the BJP repeatedly clarified the remarks insisting there was no attempt to end reservation.

Addressing an event “Gyan Utsav” that was organised by the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Bhagwat on Sunday again said that there should be conversation in harmonious atmosphere between those in favour of reservation and those against it.

Reacting sharply to it, BSP chief Mayawati asked the RSS to shed its "anti-reservation mindset” and held that such a debate would generate a dangerous situation of doubt which was not needed.

"The RSS saying that there should be open-hearted debate pertaining to reservation given to SC/ST/OBC, generates a dangerous situation of doubt, which is not at all needed,” Mayawati said.

The former UP Chief Minister, who after parting ways from Samajwadi Party post-Lok Sabha poll debacle, is making attempts to sew up a social coalition of Scheduled Castes, Muslims and backwards also said that reservation is a humanitarian and constitutional provision, and disturbing it is injustice and improper.

Going hammer and tongs, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the "anti-Dalit-backward face" of the RSS-BJP has been exposed with Bhagwat’s remarks. “Attack on the rights of the poor, trampling on constitutional rights, snatching the rights of Dalits-backwards. This is the real BJP agenda," he tweeted.

In further tweets, he said, "the conspiracy to end reservation for the poor and the policy of changing the Constitution have been exposed.”

RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha also criticized Bhagwat’s remarks.

While Bhagwat had on Sunday categorically said that the RSS, the BJP and the party-led government were three different entities and one cannot be held responsible for actions of another, the primary target of Opposition parties on Monday was the BJP, which will go to polls in states.

Both Maharashtra and Haryana have a sizeable Scheduled Caste population.

Assuring that nobody can do away with reservation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in past gone to the extent of saying "till Modi is here, nobody can touch the reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar."