Modi lay emphasis on safeguarding the rights of the marginalized and destitute, as being central to the government’s motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refuted claims that caste-based reservations were going to be done away with. In an interview to ANI, he reiterated the government’s commitment to affirmative action and fulfilling the legacy of Dr. B R Ambedkar, a champion of the Dalit cause.
"The objectives of our Constitution and dreams of Dr. Babasaheb are still incomplete. It is the responsibility of every one of us to fulfill his dream and reservations are an important tool to achieve this," Modi said.
He laid emphasis on safeguarding the rights of the marginalised and destitute, as being central to the government’s motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Modi also took aim at ‘vested interests’ who were intent on misrepresenting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stand on reservation, saying that the same people who were politicising the issue of reservation were those who had deviously tried to smother Babasaheb's dreams.
Modi said that canards to this regard usually take root before elections, and are circulated by rival political parties to drive a wedge between communities. He reaffirmed that the status quo would be maintained, and that "Reservation is here to stay. Let there be no doubts about this."
He was critical of the Congress Party’s record in promoting the backward classes, flaying the stance taken by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the Mandal Commission’s recommendations. Modi went on to say that the very forces that tried to undermine the Commission’s report were now trying to sow the seeds of doubt and mistrust between communities.
“Look across the length and breadth of India, maximum MPs and MLAs from SC, ST and OBC communities are from BJP," he said.
The Prime Minister’s words come on the back of the Maratha community's demand for reservation in government jobs and education. What started off as a low-key protests, turned violent in many parts of Maharashtra, bringing life to a standstill.
Moreover, the government will be seeking to promote the passing of the contentious 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill, touted the OBC Bill, by Parliament. The new legislature gives the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) the power to examine complaints regarding non-inclusion of citizens. It will also empower the NCBC to revise the list of backward classes to include new groups.
A committee has been set up to work out the sub-categorisation of backward castes so that the distribution of government jobs and sets in public institutions is equitable to their population. The BJP will be trying to dispel the notion that it is against reservation by its recent outreach to backward classes in the run up to the 2019 general elections.As a monolith, backward communities account for 52 percent of the populace.