Quota row erupts ahead of Bihar assembly polls

The row over reserving government jobs and seats in public education institutions to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backwards Castes has surfaced again, ahead of the Bihar elections.

ANI
New Delhi: The row over reserving government jobs and seats in public education institutions to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backwards Castes has surfaced again, ahead of the Bihar elections. Following the Supreme Court's remark on Thursday that reservation of seats was not a Fundamental Right, while disposing a petition filed on NEET seats by political parties of Tamil Nadu, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the leading opposition party in Bihar, created a twitter storm on Friday, reiterating that reservation was a Fundamental Right.

“No Constitution would be left if the Fundamental Right under the Constitution ceases to exist. Tomorrow a BJP leader would say that the voting right of SC/ST, Backwards and deprived is not a fundamental right,” RJD leader Lalu Prasad posted on Twitter.

Realising the political damage of the RJD campaign, BJP’s coalition partner and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan demanded that reservation of seats to different communities should be placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to end all controversies. “There is always controversy on the issue of reservation. Reservation is the product of the Poona Pact between Mahatma Gandhi and Baba Sahab Ambedkar. To raise a question on reservation is like raising a question on the Poona Pact,” Paswan posted on social media.


He also appealed to all political parties to come to agree on placing the law on reservation in the Ninth Schedule. Articles placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution cannot be subjected to judicial review but the Supreme Court as in an earlier instance reviewed the constitutional validity of placing particular laws in the Ninth Schedule.

Paswan's party had made this demand earlier as well. In February, when the SC in a case related to the Uttarakhand government said that reservation in promotion was not a Fundamental Right, he held a meeting of Dalit MPs from different parties and raised it.

The BJP is moving very cautiously as it wants to avoid any glitches in the run-up to the state elections. Last time in 2015, a comment on reservations made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat became a rallying point for the Opposition and damaged the party's performance to some extent.
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Which was why party president J P Nadda quickly clarified BJP’s stand in a video message: “ A few people are trying to create confusion over reservation. PM Modi and BJP as a party stand committed to reservation, social justice and equality. We have said it several times and are making it clear once again.”

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