Taking aim at reservations next?

Taking aim at reservations next?

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement on reservations has again created doubts and apprehensions about the future of the reservation policy in the country. These apprehensions have been voiced by political parties, including some parties allied to the BJP, and social groups and representatives of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes which are beneficiaries of the existing policy. Bhagwat said last week that there should be a conversation “in a harmonious atmosphere” between those who support reservations and those who oppose it “to answer this question’’ and to find a solution “in one minute, without law, without rules.’’ He also said that the Sangh was trying to do so. Bhagwat’s words need to be taken seriously because the RSS’ views, despite denials from both sides, are known to guide the BJP government. Bhagwat is also not a person who speaks without realising the meaning and import of his words.  

The RSS has issued a clarification stating that it supports reservations and that attempts were being made to create a controversy over Bhagwat’s speech. In the past, too, it has raised questions, only to then say that it is in favour of reservations. It is known that the RSS views reservations negatively. Bhagwat’s comment needs better clarification than what the RSS has given. What is there to be talked about between the two sides that he mentioned? What is the question that he wants an answer for? It is also not clear what is meant by arriving at a solution “in one minute, without law and without rules.’’ When he said that the Sangh was trying to find a solution, there must be a problem that it is trying to solve. It should let the country know what it is. 

Bhagwat’s views on reservations have invited controversy and criticism in the past also. In 2015, he had called for a review of the reservation policy and wanted a committee to be set up for that. Then, too, it was clarified that the RSS was not against reservations. But the repeated raising of the issue in public has created doubts about the intentions behind the statement. These apprehensions have been strengthened by the fact that the Modi government has implemented some key items on the RSS agenda like the abolition of Article 370 and the outlawing of triple talaq. The prime minister has also talked about population control, which is another item on the agenda. Is the talk about reservations a reminder of another unfinished task? BJP leaders have said there would be no change in the reservation policy, but clarifications and denials sometimes only lead to more doubts.