BSP chief Mayawati said Tuesday the Union Cabinet's decision to provide 10 per cent reservation in education and government jobs to the economically weaker sections was an "election stunt and political gimmick" ahead of Lok Sabha polls. She said her party, however, welcomes the "immature" move by the government.
"It would have been better had the BJP taken the decision much earlier... The government is now on its way out," she claimed.
The Cabinet on Monday cleared the quota for economically weaker sections. The move came as the upper castes, a staunch support base of the BJP, have shown signs of drifting away from the ruling party ahead of Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May.
"BSP's demand to provide reservation to the economically backward sections in general category is approved by the Cabinet in an immature way and without preparation. Our party, however, welcomes the decision though it appears to be an election stunt and political gimmick of BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls," Mayawati said in a statement.
Her reaction came a day after other opposition parties too questioned the timing of the Cabinet decision. But they have also extended support, reflecting the decision's political significance. The BJP has termed the government decision "historic".
"The party had written a letter in this regard to the government but Centre took a narrow and communal stand and provided the benefit to only a particular section (upper caste), which is injustice for other sections," she said.
"In reality, there should be review of reservation provided to SC/ST and OBC and these sections should be provided reservation as per their population by increasing their quota by amending the Constitution," she said, demanding the implementation of quota in promotions.
The Union government is likely to bring a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament to provide the quota over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation.
Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution will have to be amended for implementation of the decision.
The benefit of the reservation, when implemented, is likely to be availed by those whose annual income is below Rs eight lakh and have up to five acres of land.