New Delhi: Days after the Parliament passed the 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill empowering states to prepare their own list of Other Backward Classes (OBC), the demand for a Savarna Aayog (upper-caste commission) has been raised by BJP leaders in several states.
While not all of them have spoken up on the issue officially, others have actively taken up the matter.
Narayan Tripathi, a BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh, even wrote a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan asking him to look into the formation of the commission.
“I have written a letter to the chief minister reminding him of his announcement regarding formation of a Savarna Aayog for those who are in the general category,” Tripathi told ThePrint.
“I am happy with the decisions taken for the welfare of the Other Backward Classes but, at the same time, general category people should also have a commission to look into their complaints and issues.”
In his letter to Chouhan, dated 12 August, Tripathi talked about the sense of despair felt by those from the general category.
“I want to bring to your notice that in Rewa this year on 26 January, the formation of the upper caste commission was announced by you. However, there is a sense of despair and neglect among the general category people as not much serious efforts have been made regarding the formation of the Savarna Aayog for the welfare of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas etc.,” read the letter, accessed by ThePrint.
“You are a sensitive leader and head of this state and I hope and believe that you will soon constitute a Savarna Commission by giving it constitutional status. Due to this the party will get unprecedented support, especially in Gwalior, Chambal and Vindhya region. This timely step of yours will be of great benefit, and an atmosphere of harmony will be created,” it added.
However, BJP’s national spokesperson, R.P. Singh said, “Our government has already announced 10 per cent reservation to the economically poor in the general category. We believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas mantra, and welfare measures are implemented for all.”
In 2019, the central government had approved 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections in the general category.
Protests in Himachal Pradesh
The BJP government in Himachal Pradesh has also indicated that it is looking into forming a commission for upper castes.
The issue was raised by Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh in the state assembly on 10 August and in reply, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the government was looking into it.
There have also been protests in the state demanding such a commission in the past month and Thakur said that it was unfortunate that some agitators were raising slogans against a section of society.
According to party sources, a section in the BJP is concerned that the government has been taking major decisions for the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and OBC communities, which is making other communities feel neglected.
“We are not against any welfare decisions taken for the OBC or SC communities but at the same time concerns of other communities should also be addressed. Many people are feeling neglected and have been sharing this with us. As a party we have to work for everyone’s welfare and no community should feel left out,” said a senior BJP leader.
Another party leader noted that upper castes have always voted for the BJP and their welfare also needs to be taken into account by the government.
“There is a growing uneasiness among the party functionaries as well as the people in general and it can have serious repercussions. The upper castes have always voted for the party and their welfare is also the responsibility of the government. The 10 per cent quota was announced for the economically weaker sections but its implementation needs to be studied,” he told ThePrint.
(Edited by Rachel John)