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Parties across the board hail quota bill; Oppn terms it 'election stunt'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Parties across the board Tuesday extended their support to the government's move to provide 10 per cent reservation in education and government jobs to economically weaker sections, even as the Opposition called it "election stunt" ahead of the polls.

A landmark bill seeking to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the general category poor was passed by the Tuesday, with most parties backing the measure.

The said it supported the bill, but doubted the government's intentions. It said the move was merely a "poll gimmick" aimed at political gains in the upcoming elections.

Various parties, including the BSP, SP, TDP and DMK, also called it the BJP's poll stunt, but welcomed the move.

The Cabinet had on Monday cleared the quota for economically weaker sections. The move followed as the upper castes, a staunch support base of the BJP, have shown signs of drifting away from the ruling party ahead of the polls, likely to be held in April-May this year.

described the bill as a "gift" by the to the youth from poor families, saying it will open the door for their 'golden future'.

Taking on the Opposition over the issue, he said it was a lesson for other political parties who had been doing appeasement for years.

described the passage of the bill as being in the "national interest" and said, "Those poor who were not covered under the ambit of reservation can now avail its benefits. It had been a demand of people since a long time. I am assured that it will be passed in Rajya Sabha also."

Echoing similar sentiments, BJP's ally LJP supremo said this is in line with the Modi government's philosophy of 'sabka sath sabka vikas' (together with all, development for all).

"Now situation has changed in the society, there are poor among people from upper caste they should get reservation," he said.

said his party supported the bill, but no jobs were being created.

The truth is that after four years and eight months, the has "suddenly woken up" to the woes of economically poor as it "faces imminent defeat" in the 2019 elections.

"Modi ji, the will support reservation for the poor. But, who and how will people get the benefit of reservation in jobs when no jobs are being created?" he said on

Congress said the intention of the government was doubtful since it was bringing the bill in the final months of its tenure.

described it an "election stunt and political gimmick" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. She, however, welcomed the "immature" move by the government.

"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 the BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls," she said in a statement.

"It would have been better had the BJP taken the decision much earlier... The government is now on its way out," she claimed.

also extended its support to the proposed 10 per cent legislation for poor among general category, but demanded that reservation for OBCs should be raised, who constitute 56 per cent of the total population.

"We demand that the OBCs who constitute 56 per cent of the total population of the country should be given equal per centage of reservation," party's said while adding that the party supports the bill.

and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu said the move was taken to divert attention from the alleged Rafale scam.

''However, we support the 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward,'' he said at a public meeting at Kosigi village in district.

''At the same time, we seek inclusion of Valmiki community in the ST list, washermen community in the SC list and extension of reservation for Kapus under the backward castes quota,'' Naidu said, recalling that the had passed bills in this regard and sent them to the Centre for approval.

JD(S) supremo and former H D Deve Gowda also extended support to the Centre's move.

"(Secular) supports the 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections of the upper castes. We have always stood for, and will continue to stand for betterment of the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society," the veteran leader said in a series of tweets.

The DMK said the BJP-led government at the Centre has started a "disastrous game" with backward classes and others with this move.

He said the 10 per cent 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".

said the move was a "fraud on the Constitution and is an insult to Dr BR Ambedkar.

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

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 23:40 IST