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10% quota for poor in general category will stand judicial scrutiny: Ram Vilas Paswan

Paswan also said he favoured putting reservation in the ninth schedule (of Constitution) so that the issues concerning the same are not dragged to the court.

Reported by: PTI, Patna [ Published on: January 11, 2019 21:02 IST ]
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan
Image Source : PTI

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday asserted that the Narendra Modi government has taken adequate precaution by amending the Constitution for providing 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward in unreserved category so that it stands the judicial scrutiny.

Addressing a press conference here, he said when the V P Singh government provided reservation to the OBCs, quotas to the poor among the upper castes was also contemplated, but the then Attorney General Soli Sorabjee was of the view that since the Constitution did not provide for reservation on an economic basis, it would not be upheld.

However, the Narasimha Rao government still sought to give the poor a lollipop by providing reservation through a notification which was, expectedly, struck down, he said. 

Since the Modi government has taken adequate precaution through a constitutional amendment, opposition parties like the Congress and RJD had been jolted out of their sleep. 

They will know the reality when they go to voters in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Paswan said.

The LJP chief said while V P Singh, a leader from an upper caste, provided reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), PM Narendra Modi, who comes from a backward class did justice to the poor of the upper caste which is indicative of the social harmony within the Indian society.

He accused the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the main opposition party in Bihar, of pursuing politics of dividing the society on caste basis, while the Congress (its ally in the state) spoke with a forked tongue on the issue of social justice.

It (Congress) supported the Bill in Lok Sabha, but leaders like Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal raised unwarranted objections in the Rajya Sabha, Paswan said.

He also said he favoured putting reservation in the ninth schedule (of Constitution) so that the issues concerning the same are not dragged to the court.

The Union minister also came out in support of introducing affirmative action in the private sector, saying, "I realise that unlike public sector, we cannot impose quotas in privately-owned undertakings. But some measure should be thought out so that social justice is ensured in all sectors".

He also blamed the Congress for a fall in employment opportunities, saying the party opened a pandora's box by the manner in which it liberalised the economy.

About the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, Paswan, whose party will be contesting the election in alliance with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and the BJP, remarked,  "Earlier, we were confident of winning about 35 seats out of 40. Now I feel the opposition parties are going to draw a blank". 

He also sought to dismiss the alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh as "inconsequential", claiming that the failure to take the Congress on board will result in splitting of votes.

The Congress is the first choice among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, but the SP will take away a major chunk of their votes. 

The end result will be similar to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in Bihar when the Congress and RJD fought separately and ended up winning a total of four seats out of 40, the LJP chief remarked.

Interestingly, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) had fought the 2009 elections in alliance with the RJD and ended up losing all seats, including Paswan's constituency Hajipur.

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