New Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he will gherao (surround) the Parliament on 7 March against Modi government’s policy of lateral entry in bureaucracy, calling it a violation of constitutional rights.
The government recently invited applications from those working in the private sector, public sector undertakings and state governments for three posts of joint secretaries and 27 posts of directors across ministries, to be filled through lateral entry by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
In a press conference in Delhi Monday, Azad said that the gherao of Parliament would be the first step of a movement against lateral entry.
He added that if the government does not take back the policy, Bhim Army will organise block, district and state-level panchayats to strategise the next steps of the movement.
“This is a way to let government’s favourite people enter bureaucracy through the back door. It is not only the violation of the right to equality of opportunity of the Indian Constitution, but also unfair to those who are already part of the civil services and have to spend years before reaching the joint secretary level,” said Azad during the press conference.
Lateral entry has become a method to bypass reservation, he added.
The Bhim Army chief also pointed out that there was not even a single SC, ST, OBC or minority person included in lateral entrants in 2019.
He noted that not having a uniform evaluation exam for lateral entry would promote “bhai-bhatijawad” (nepotism) and corruption in the bureaucracy.
“This is also unjust for young people from various class and economic backgrounds who prepare for the UPSC examination sitting in different corners of the country. Through lateral entry, opportunities which should be provided to these young people, are now being taken away,” said Azad.
Azad also raised the issue of privatisation that was a key part of this year’s budget. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that all central public sector enterprises (CPCEs), except four sectors, will be privatised.
“There are certain CPCEs which are currently profitable. It is beyond my understanding why the government is trying to sell these organisations,” Azad said, adding that the government should be transparent about where the Rs 1.75 lakh crore that is set to be raised by privatisation will be spent.
He also demanded that the reservation for SC, ST, OBCs should be applied in the private sector as well since the government is trying to eliminate the public sector.
Azad launched his political party ‘Azad Smaj Party’ in March 2020 and has led various protests in the national capital region, including an anti-CAA-NRC protest at Delhi’s Jama Masjid. He also led protests against the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras last year.
Azad also recently met farm leader Rakesh Tikait, who is among those leading the farmer protests, at the Ghazipur border and offered help to strengthen the farmers’ protest.