The DMK Tuesday said the BJP-led government at the Centre has started a 'disastrous game' with backward classes and others using its proposal to provide 10 per cent quota for "economically weaker sections" in government jobs and education.
In a major move ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Union Cabinet on Monday cleared a 10 per cent quota in government jobs and education for "economically weaker" sections, meeting a key demand of the upper castes, a staunch support base of the ruling BJP, which has shown signs of a drift from it.
The move to provide the quota was done with an eye on the coming Lok Sabha polls, DMK President MK Stalin alleged and wanted the ruling AIADMK to adopt a resolution against the Centre on the matter in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Stalin, Leader of the Opposition, raised the issue on the floor of the House on Tuesday and reminded the government of the 69 percent reservation followed in Tamil Nadu, heralded by the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The government, for its part, said the union cabinet's move was only a "policy decision" and that it has not received any notification from the Centre on the matter.
Noting that the quota should be based on social backwardness and not economic one, Stalin claimed that the proposal was not in tune with Constitutional provisions on reservation.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had struck down a similar effort, he recalled.
"The Central BJP government has brought such a reservation for the coming Parliamentary polls, and has started a disastrous game with the backward classes, SC and ST, who have been given a right to employment" he said.
Stalin further said the 10 percent quota would not stand the legal scrutiny "as it has been clearly stated that reservation should be for those who are socially and educationally backward."
"Economically backwardness is against the Constitution," he said.
He recalled that his father, late chief minister M Karunanidhi, had played a vital role in the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations on 27 percent reservation for OBCs in central government jobs.
Stalin demanded that the Assembly adopt a resolution against Centre's move.
Responding to Stalin, Jayakumar said the state government was keen to uphold the existing reservation policy in the state, in the lines of late chief ministers MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, both AIADMK stalwarts.
Jayalalithaa had ensured 69 percent reservation in education and employment for BC, MBC, SC, ST and Denotified Communities during her first stint as chief minister between 1991-96.
Jayakumar recollected her leading a delegation of various parties to meet then Prime Minister, the late PV Narasimha Rao, to urge him to refer a Bill on 69 percent reservation for Presidential assent, which was also given later.
On Centre's proposal for the 10 percent quota for the 'weaker sections,' Jayakumar said it was only a "policy decision."
"It is only a policy decision. We have not received any notification from the Centre. We will share our opinion when we receive it," he said.
The proposed reservation would be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and will take the total reservation to 60 per cent.
The Narendra Modi government tabled a bill in this regard in Parliament on Tuesday, which for the first time aimed to provide for non-caste, non-religion-based reservation.
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