The Congress will hold a countrywide protest on February 16 to expose the "anti-quota" ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), said Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal on Monday. The Congress move comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court verdict delivered on February 7 where it said that there is "no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions", and also no court can order a state government to provide for reservation to SC/STs.
In a circular issued to all the state units and the frontal organisations, Venugopal said, "As you are well aware that the BJP and the Sangh Parivar ideology is opposed to the reservations for SC, ST and OBC communities. The BJP has been systematically attacking the provision of reservations for SC, ST and OBC through various statements and actions for the last many years."
Slamming the BJP-led central government, he said "Carrying forward this agenda, the BJP government now has taken the unconstitutional stand in the Supreme Court."
Sharing the Supreme Court's order, he said, "In response to the stand taken by the BJP government, it has been decided by our party to vehemently expose the BJP and agitate for the constitutional rights of the SC, ST and the OBC on February 16."
Venugopal asked the party leaders to organise a dharna or public meeting or protest march under the combined aegis of the SC, ST and OBC departments, coordinated and monitored by state unit chiefs.
Congress leader of House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue during Zero Hour.
Attacking the government, he said, "There has been discrimination against the SCs and STs for centuries. But, the Indian government decided to give them rights after independence. What happened to this government? Why is the government trying to snatch the rights of SCs and STs."
However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi rejected Congress's allegation against the government, saying "it was the Supreme Court's judgment and the government has nothing to do with that".
He told the Congress that it was it's the government in 2012 when the matter came up in the court.