New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) The Congress on Monday slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark on quotas and also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, alleging that as chief minister of Gujarat, Modi had pursued “anti-Dalit” policies.
In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat sought a “review of reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward classes”.
“It is a manifestation of the anti-poor mindset espoused by the RSS and the BJP. The RSS-BJP combine continue to spread polarising agenda to undermine the rights of deprived and underprivileged, particularly the SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes,” Surjewala alleged.
He said the Congress introduced the system of reservation for SCs, STs in government employment, educational institutions as well as elected bodies as part of affirmative action enshrined in India’s Constitution.
“It is also the Indian National Congress that introduced reservation for OBCs in government employment and educational institutions in the mid-1990s and later,” he said.
He said the Congress was of the firm opinion that affirmative action in favour of SCs, STs and OBCs must continue in order to deal with the discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression.
Surjewala alleged that Modi as chief minister of Gujarat did not hold a meeting of SC Sub Plan (SCSP) and ST Sub Plan (STSP).
“The policy had not been intentionally implemented on account of malafide and malicious intent of the then chief minister,” he alleged.
He said the population of SCs in Gujarat was 14 percent but allocation of budget for them was only 5.42 percent.
“There was a backlog of 27,900 vacancies of SCs and STs in Gujarat under Narendra Modi. The Gujarat government did not provide any reservation for SCs in as many as 600 villages out of a total of 12,000 villages in the 2012 panchayati raj elections,” he alleged.
Bhagwat on Sunday pitched for a review of the reservation policy, contending it had been used for political ends and suggested setting up an apolitical committee to examine who needs the facility and till when. The RSS later clarified that its chief had not called for an end to quotas in education and jobs.
The BJP on Monday said it does not favour a reconsideration of the reservation policy.