In 2015 Bihar Assembly polls, the issue of reservation raised by the RJD had worked wonders. Apparently buoyed by the success of the idea, the RJD is now trying hard to rake up this issue afresh in the aftermath of the grant of 10 reservation to upper castes and telling the masses how the Narendra Modi government is slowly scraping the right of reservation rented to the socially backward castes under the Constitution. RJD is one of the few parties which opposed the constitutional amendment aimed at granting 10 per cent EWS quota.
The Union cabinet’s recent move to approve 10 per cent reservation in jobs and higher education for “economically backward” sections in the general category is being seen as a step to consolidate the upper castes.
As part of this strategy to make this a poll issue, the main Opposition party in Bihar has now gone on aggressively questioning how the NDA government granted reservation rights to the upper castes with an annual income of Rs 8 lakh or owning 5 acres of land. He is also exhorting the masses to ban entry of MPs with backward or Dalit community for not demanding for raising their reservation ceiling. “Such timid people are not fit to represent you. The people who can’t even speak in your favour must not be allowed their entry to your villages,” he says.
Apparently seeing a huge potential in the issue, Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav kicked off a formal “berojgari Hatao-Arakshan Badao Yatra” (end unemployment, increase ceiling of reservation for Backward and Dalits) from Darbhanga district on Thursday.
Addressing a public meeting, he charged the ruling NDA with conspiring to scrape reservation for socially backward classes and exhorted the masses to come forward to protect their rights.
“My father Lalu Prasad worked hard for the empowerment of the deprived sections of the society and hence the BJP people sent him to jail under a deep-rooted conspiracy. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too was a part of this conspiracy,” he alleged, asking the masses to be aware of their rights.
The RJD leader is also questioning the way the reservation facility was granted to the upper castes so quickly while it took years for the government to implement the report of the Mandal Commission, which has not been fully implemented till date.
“The Mandal commission submitted its report two years after it was formed in 1978. Again, the announcement to implement the report was made in 1990 but it was implemented only in 1993. So far as the higher academic institutions were concerned, the report was implanted there in 2008. And these all took place only after so many agitations and bloody protests but the reservation to the upper castes was granted within 72 hours and that too without the recommendation of any commission,” Tejashwi asked in his blog post.
He further sought for increasing the ceiling of reservation for OBC and Dalit community to 90 percent and its implementation in private sector too. He demanded that there must be caste census to grant reservation to the people in accordance with their population.
“The backward community which forms 52 percent of total population as per 1931 census has been granted only 27 percent reservation whereas the upper castes who form just 15 percent of the population has been granted 10 percent reservation,” he wondered.
During the last assembly polls, a mere statement by the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat over the issue of reservation had strongly worked against the NDA. In his observation, the RSS chief had advocated for reviewing the country’s reservation policy and RJD went to the voters telling them how the RSS was conspiring to scrap the reservation of the socially poor castes.