BJP rejects Mohan Bhagwat's quota review pitch, RSS clarifies stance as political row erupts

A political row broke out over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's call for review of reservation policy with BJP opposing it and distancing itself from its ideological mentor and shared the stand taken by Bihar-based parties which said reservation in India is a "settled issue".

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015, 00:50 AM IST
BJP rejects Mohan Bhagwat's quota review pitch, RSS clarifies stance as political row erupts

New Delhi/Patna: A political row broke out over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's call for review of reservation policy with BJP opposing it and distancing itself from its ideological mentor and shared the stand taken by Bihar-based parties which said reservation in India is a "settled issue".

Lalu Prasad's RJD dared the Modi government to scrap the quotas with a tweet, "If you have drunk your mother's milk (mai ka doodh), then have it scrapped, each would know his strength."

There was no official reaction from Congress yet to Bhagat's suggestion but in remarks that could raise eyebrows within the party, senior leader Manish Tewari questioned the relevance of reservation in the 21st century and said if it was required at all, the economic condition, and not caste, should be the basis for it.

BJP said it respected 100 per cent the reservation rights of SCs, STs and other backward castes as it was essential for their social and economic development and empowerment.

"It is BJP's firm committment since Jan Sangh days that reservation is essential for social and economic development and empowerment of SCs, STs, backward and extremenly backward castes. BJP is not in favour of any reconsideration of reservation being extended to these groups," senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in Delhi.

Prasad, also Union Communications Minister, said a discussion was welcome on what further can be done for the poor and "left over" backward communities who have not been able to reap benefits of development, while insisting that BJP was all for the existing benefits to continue.

"BJP indeed is very clear and very categorial that there is no need to reconsider reservation nor does BJP support it (such demand)," he said.

On the other hand, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav in a tweet said that Mohan Bhagwat has not made any comment on the existing reservation system.

He futher tweeted the statement made by RSS:

Meanwhile, RSS also clarified that Bhagwat did not speak about existing quota system but said everybody should try to ensure that all weaker sections reap its benefits.

"This interview was not on the subject of reservation but about integral humanism and should be seen in this context," RSS chief spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement.

In an interview to RSS mouthpiece Organiser, Bhagwat had pitched for a review of the reservation policy, contending it has been used for political ends and suggesting setting up of an apolitical committee to examine who needs the facility and for how long.

NDA ally RLSP, a Bihar-based party, said reservation in India is a "settled issue" as mandated in the Constitution,

Fighting a tough electoral battle in Bihar, Lalu, one of the enduring icons of post-Mandal politics, said in another tweet, "The so-called tea seller and recently-turned backward (Narendra) Modi should tell if he will finish reservations at his master (Mohan) Bhagwat's bidding."

"No matter how much RSS and BJP try to create an atmosphere for finishing reservation, dalits and backwards who constitute 80 per cent of the country will give a befitting reply," he said.

JD(U) slammed Bhagwat for seeking a review of the reservation policy, saying this amounts to "interference" and is an attempt to "weaken" the SC, ST and other backward communities.

"Janata Dal (United) totally rejects and condemns the proposal of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat regarding appointment of a committee to review the reservation policy of the SC/ST and backwards," party general secretary KC Tyagi said in a statement.

(With Agency inputs)