MAYAWATI EMBRACE QUOTA FOR THE ECONOMICALLY BACKWARD BUT QUESTIONS TIMING

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday embraced the 10% reservation published for economically weak sectors of the general category but asked the timing of the resolution by the Narendra Modi government months before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. She explained the resolution as a “political illusion” and “election stunt.”

Ms Mayawati stated reservations for “poor savarnas” (poor upper castes) had been a long-standing interest of the BSP. Though the Modi government had accepted it in an “incomplete and half-baked” manner, her party supports the conclusion of the Union Cabinet, Ms Mayawati said.

The four-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh also asked that the 50% cap on quota for SC/ST and OBC also be evaluated with “good intent” and the reservations for these groups be developed according to the rise in their population over the years.

Arguing that the choice taken by the BJP government right before the 2019 Lok Sabha election did not seem to have been done with the right intention, the BSP supremo said the quota notification looked more like a “political illusion and election stunt.”

“It would have been better had the government taken the resolution not right before its tenure ends, but much earlier. So that this new reservation policy could be achieved in a proper way or provide true gains to the poor savarnas,” said Ms Mayawati.

Further, after the BJP would have covered the way for it in Parliament as well as in court, people would have less scope to doubt the party’s purpose and policy, she said.

The Union Cabinet on Monday accepted a Constitution Amendment Bill to provide a 10% reservation to the economically underprivileged sections in the general category, a senior government official said. The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities. The allowance will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

While the BSP has four members in the Rajya Sabha, it has none in the Lok Sabha.

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