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Cong accuses BJP of conspiring to end reservations for SCs/STs

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Congress on Monday accused the BJP and the RSS of conspiring to end reservation for the SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes, saying they have been "sabotaging" reservation to these oppressed sections for years.

The party's remarks came after the Supreme Court held that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and there is no fundamental right to claim quota in promotions.

It also accused Union Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot of misleading Lok Sabha on the issue and said it would move a privilege motion against him.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted that it is in the DNA of the BJP and the RSS to try to erase reservations and a "big conspiracy" is underway to take away the rights of deprived sections and asserted his party will not allow doing away with quota.

Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, he said, "We will not allow reservation to be done away with, no matter how much Modi Ji or Mohan Bhagwat dream of it."

Gandhi slammed the BJP government in Uttarakhand for contending in the Supreme Court that there was no fundamental right to claim reservation in appointments or promotions in public posts, and there was no constitutional duty on the part of the state governments to provide reservations.

The Congress said it would stage protests and agitations at district level on the issue in the coming weeks to "expose" the Modi government's "conspiracy to end reservation" for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Congress general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said it is a clear agenda of the BJP to curtail reservation for SCs/STs and backwards, and alleged that the RSS has been sabotaging reservation to these oppressed sections for years.

"The Congress party has decided to move a privilege motion against Gehlot," he told reporters.

"The minister has misled the House. We will definitely move the privilege motion against him," he said.

The Congress has prepared a privilege notice and some of its Lok Sabha MPs would file the same on Tuesday before the Lok Sabha speaker.

The government informed Parliament that it was not a party in the Supreme Court which has ordered that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments.

Making a statement in both houses, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Gehlot said the Centre was also not asked to file an affidavit on the issue.

He said the top court order pertains to a decision of the Uttarakhand government taken in 2012 when the Congress was in power in the state.

Denying the charge, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said it is the BJP government which has filed the special leave petition on November 14, 2019 in the Supreme Court on which the judgment has come.

"The truth is that the mal-intent and malafide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government is leading to this kind of judgement," Surjewala said, adding that the BJP government in Uttarakhand filed the SLP, argued it and filed the statement in Supreme Court.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, said the BJP government is making a statement in the Supreme Court against the constitutional right of reservation.

"These rights were acquired through great struggles and sacrifices, so that India can become a better nation. Today, there is a big conspiracy to take away the rights of the deprived sections one by one. What could be bigger treason than this?" he said.

"The ideology of the RSS and the BJP is against reservation," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament, adding that "they cannot stand the idea that Dalits, tribals and OBCs have reservations".

"They (the RSS and BJP) wake up every morning and this (reservation) irritates them. Except it is in our Constitution, and these rights are guaranteed by our Constitution," he said.

Upping the ante against the BJP, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the saffron party was weakening the equal rights given to Dalits and tribals by the Constitution.

"Understand the BJP's bid of ending reservation -- RSS people consistently make statements against reservation. The BJP government of Uttarakhand makes an appeal in the Supreme Court to abolish the fundamental right to reservation. Uttar Pradesh government also immediately starts tampering with the rules of reservation," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet.

"The BJP first tried to weaken the law against atrocities on Dalits and tribals. Now it is trying to weaken equal rights given to them by the Constitution and Babasaheb (Ambedkar)," she said in a tweet.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the government and the BJP must spell out corrective measures if they do not agree with the Supreme Court judgment on reservation not being mandatory as they cannot distance themselves from it.

"The government and the BJP cannot distance themselves from the Supreme Court's judgement on reservation not being mandatory.

"If the BJP does not agree with the judgement, let it say so and spell out the corrective measures," he said on Twitter.

Chidambaram also alleged that the BJP government of Uttarakhand has put forth the argument that has been accepted by the court.

"The BJP government of Uttarakhand put forward the argument that was accepted by the Court. BJP must own up to the judgement and tell us if it will allow the declaration of law to remain unchallenged," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 10 2020. 20:36 IST