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Dalit BJP MP takes on Lok Sabha Speaker over ‘reservation for limited period’ remarks

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BJP MP Udit Raj says no question of ending reservation; row reveals a lack of unanimity on the issue within BJP

New Delhi: One of the BJP’s Dalit faces has taken on Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan over her remarks that there should be a review of the reservation system, which she said, had been envisaged for just 10 years by the framers of the Constitution.

Speaking at ‘Lokmanthan’, a Right-wing thinkers’ meet in Ranchi, Mahajan reportedly said that when Dr B.R. Ambedkar envisioned reservation, it was for just 10 years.

“Those in Parliament kept on extending it,” news agency ANI quoted her as saying.

She later, however, reportedly clarified that this is her personal opinion.

Responding to her remarks, MP Udit Raj, a Dalit leader, said there was no “question of ending reservation”.

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“Recently, Hon’ble Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said in a programme that Babasaheb Ambedkar had said reservation was only for 10 years,” Raj said.

“Let me clarify that Babasaheb had said this while imagining that caste and social discrimination would be eliminated and Schedule Caste/ Schedule Tribes, backward and tribals would be given equal status. Then there would have been no need for reservation,” he added.

The MP also said that even after 70 years of Independence, the country has not eliminated discrimination against Dalits, tribals and other backward castes.

“Society has been divisive and if you talk about reservation in jobs, then there is no time limit for it; so, there is no question of ending the reservation,” he said.

Differing views in Sangh parivar

Speaker Mahajan’s stance on reservation and Raj’s rebuttal reveal a lack of consensus within the Sangh Parivar on the issue.

Among those who hold views similar to Mahajan is Union Minister for Shipping and Roadways Nitin Gadkari, who had earlier suggested that reservation should be granted on the basis of economic status and not on the basis of caste.

But then there’s RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who, at the recently-concluded three-day conclave, said that reservation was necessary but to continue availing it was up to the beneficiaries.

The row also comes in the wake of the Supreme Court upholding reservation in promotions in government jobs.

Raj, however, is irked by the apex court’s imposition of creamy layer in reservations.

Also read: Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad walks out of jail with a promise to ‘defeat BJP’

He quoted the five-judge bench ruling that refused to impose the creamy layer criterion.

“Supreme Court has admitted that there is no data gathering of backwardness, so it has been assumed that Schedule Caste/ Schedule Tribes and tribals are backward. Then the creamy layer, or economic criteria, cannot be applied to give reservation in promotion,” he added.

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  1. This is called “quenching of a guilty feeling” that Udit Raj is now looking so troubled about Dalit-matters. Or plain opportunism. He is as big a sham as Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and other Muslim and Dalit leaders who joined the BJP and CONTINUED to remain with it — even when this party so unambiguously demonstrated that it “doesn’t only NOT treat them as equals”, but is murderously HOSTILE towards the Dalits and the Muslims. Where was Udit Raj when Dalits were mercilessly thrashed in Una and other places, so much so that they all converted to Buddhism? Or when one of them was not allowed to ride a mare for his wedding, or grow a moustache, or play DJ music? Now he wants to portray himself as the Messiah of Dalits when elections are nearing? I will personally rejoice if Udit Raj and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ram Vilas Paswan and Shahnawaz Hussain lose in 2019 elections. And also M.J. Akbar, if he decides to contest to “further serve” his weird choice of a political party.

  2. Why shouldn’t there be a limit on reservation? Should the unreserved class Hindus suffer discrimination till they are completely wiped out of the public system as has happened in Tamil Nadu? This extraordinary resistance of dalit leaders to reforms and limit on reservation is shocking. So-called discrimination is no basis for continuing with reservation till eternity.

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