After BSP, now SP, JD(S) support government's upper caste quota move

The bill was introduced by Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot in the Parliament.

After BSP, now SP, JD(S) support government's upper caste quota move

NEW DELHI: After Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati,  Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi party and Janata Dal (S) have welcomed the Centre's move to provide 10 percent reservation in education and government jobs to the economically weaker sections in the General category.

''OBC should also get the reservation on the basis of their population. The OBCs should be provided 54 percent reservation. We welcome the Centre's move to give 10 percent reservation to the economically weaker upper caste members,'' SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav told Ani.

Remarks from Yadav came shortly after BSP chief welcomed the decision, though she dubbed it as an "election stunt and political gimmick" ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Union Cabinet on Monday cleared the proposal to give 10 percent reservation in education and government jobs to the economically weaker sections of the upper castes.

The move came as the upper castes, a staunch support base of the BJP, have shown signs of drifting away from the ruling party ahead of Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May.

Mayawati said her party welcomes the "immature" move by the Modi government.

"It would have been better had the BJP taken the decision much earlier... The government is now on its way out," she claimed.

Meanwhile, JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda also extended support to the Centre's move towards providing a 10-per cent quota in government jobs and education for the "economically weaker" sections.

"Janata Dal (Secular) supports the 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections of the upper castes," he said in a tweet.

"We have always stood for, and will continue to stand for betterment of the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society," the veteran leader added.

The JD(S) has two Lok Sabha members from Karnataka, including Deve Gowda.

The Congress, however, dubbed the move as an "election gimmick". 

The proposed reservation will be over and above the existing 50 percent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and will take the total reservation to 60 percent.

The Narendra Modi government tabled a bill in this regard in Parliament on Tuesday, which for the first time aimed to provide for non-caste, non-religion-based reservation. 

The bill was introduced by Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot in the Parliament.