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Dwivedi faces flak from BSP, SP for quota remark, Congress distances

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 19:58

New Delhi: Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi`s suggestion for ending quota based on caste and linking it with economic criteria was on Wednesday condemned by SP and BSP as anti-social justice while BJP and SAD questioned its timing just before Lok Sabha polls.

Congress and the government, however, distanced themselves from the remark, saying it was his "personal" view and that they support, adhere and subscribe to the existing policy after it generated a lot of heat inside and outside Parliament.

SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati slammed the decision. Samajwadi Party and BSP are supporting the UPA government from outside.

Yadav said Congress is trying to end the social justice system in the country while BSP chief Mayawati demanded that the Congress must make its stand clear on the issue.

Dwivedi`s suggestion created an uproar in Parliament with BSP members shouting slogans like "anti-poor government, down down" in the well of Rajya Sabha. They were also joined by SP members while those from JD(U) said Congress is doing away with the reservation system and cried "conspiracy."

BSP members in Lok Sabha also rushed to the well of the House. Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, though supporting the suggestion, questioned the timing of the move.

"Why this move at this time? Though it is a very good idea but according to me, anything that is moved by Congress now and in the last six months it has only one agenda. They are targeting a particular group for votebank politics. They had 10 years, they could have done a lot, but they did nothing," she said.

BJP also chose to question the timing of the move saying the "revolutionary idea" should have come long ago.

"We want progress of all sections of society. But why this revolutionary idea came to Congress leader`s mind when the elections are round the corner? There was enough time with them earlier and it could have been debated on national platform," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Without rejecting the idea, he said, "We are always in favour of giving opportunity for progress to whoever is economically or socially backward."

While maintaining that Dwivedi is an "extremly seasoned and experienced" politician, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "His statement on the issue of caste-based reservation or absence thereof is his personal opinion."
Amid uproar in Parliament over the issue, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said in the Rajya Sabha, "The government is not considering any proposal to provide reservation based on economic criteria. The reservation as it stands today will continue as per constitutional provision."
Dwivedi, who is a member of the Upper House, was present when Shukla made the clarification.

First Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 17:55
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