Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the 10 per cent quota for the poor among the upper castes in government jobs and higher education institutions is a "historic step" and allayed fears that this will cut into the existing reservation pie for the SC/ST and OBCs.
Addressing a public meeting here, he said a "major step" had been taken to provide equal opportunities to the poor and referred to how the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a "historic" legislation.
"After so many decades, the poor from the general category will get a quota of 10 per cent in government jobs and higher educational institutions... A major step has been taken and I thank all who have supported the amendment in the Constitution," he said.
"I am a man who keeps his words and am happy that what I said as the Chief Minister of Gujarat I have stuck to and fulfilled as the Prime Minister," he said, pointing out out how during his days as the Chief Minister he would tell people not to be fooled by promises made by politicians and leaders of giving them quota beyond the cap of 50 per cent.
"I had always maintained that they were fooling people as this was not possible without a law to amend the Constitution," he told a cheering crowd.
He slammed the opposition parties for questioning the timing of the legislation.
"At any given point of time election process in India is under way somewhere or the other... Had I done this three months back, I would have been accused of doing so with an eye on the Assembly polls of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh... When we have done it now they are accusing us of something else."
Asking the people whether they agreed with his proposal of 'One Country, One Election', he said: "I strongly feel that (simultaneous polls) should be the case. Otherwise when will we have the time to work."
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