Crafty politics

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/9/2019 11:43:02 AM IST

 Desperate situations call for desperate measures and that was what the Modi government has done when its cabinet decided to amend the Constitution to provide 10 per cent quota in jobs and higher education for the poor among communities not eligible for reservation. The upper caste quota opens a new front that is likely to play out in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The decision stopped the opposition in their tracks, especially the Congress which was gunning for the beleaguered prime minister on the Rafale and demonetisation issues. It was a strategic but crafty move which none of the parties dared oppose or else risk losing the votes of the upper castes. The BJP has been under severe attack and even the Augusta Westland deal did not create the impact it had wanted as the party was booted out in its bastions in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. For the ruling BJP, the decision was with an eye on Lok Sabha elections in a few months and also to leave behind the party’s defeat in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. By giving 10 per cent quota in jobs and higher education to the upper caste poor, months before the next Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government has played a master move that few among the opposition parties can criticise. For one, the upper caste quota is not a new idea but one which what several opposition leaders had been asking for but did nothing. When Mayawati of Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP) rode to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2007, she demanded reservation in jobs for the poor belonging to the upper caste. Then the Congress as well as the BJP supported the demand. When the decision sailed through, Mayawati won the election with the help of significant support by upper caste voters. Some Dalit leaders in the ruling NDA too have demanded such a quota for the upper caste poor. Reservation for SC, ST and OBCs throughout India has already plugged 49.5 % of jobs. With another 10% added for the upper castes, the total jobs reserved will now cross over to 59.5%. SC, ST and OBC categories are considered to be of those who need to be raised to a higher level to maintain equality. They are given free education, easy jobs, lower criteria for selection and in short reservation. Modi used his so-called backward credentials to woo a large section of non-dominant backward class communities during 2014. By extending reservation for the upward caste has changed the narrative of social justice about reservation being an exclusive political right of the backward castes and thus and takes away the “bragging rights” of backwards during political dialogues and electioneering. Now the BJP will rightly claim to be a promoter of upper caste quota for the economically backward. The fact of the matter is that when those who form the government continue with their promise to make India a super power and also a great nation, it is quite inconceivable that the same breed of politicians think nothing of taking the country backwards for political dividends. The quota system is about promoting mediocracy and that cannot make India great.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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