New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) A day after the government faced embarrassment in Parliament over a bill on the Backward Classes Commission, the BJP on Tuesday accused the Congress of “cheating the OBCs for its minority politics” but the Opposition party hit back with a counter-charge.
The Congress had hatched a conspiracy in the Rajya Sabha to not support the bill to confer constitutional status on the National Commission for Backward Classes, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha member Bhupender Yadav said at a press conference here.
In response, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the “betrayal” of the cause of the backward classes was evident on Monday as 35 BJP members were absent from the Rajya Sabha, leading to failure of the constitutional amendment bill.
The opposition party also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah must apologise to the backward classes for what it called compromising their interests.
“It was a Congress conspiracy. The amendment brought in by the Congress was not to favour the OBCs or to get them justice, but to halt the amendment bill in the Lok Sabha and cheat them,” BJP leader Bhupender Yadav said.
The government on Monday suffered embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha when it could not ensure the passage of a bill to give constitutional status to the Backward Classes Commission, with the opposition succeeding in getting amended an important provision on the matter.
The BJP leader said the kind of amendment the Congress supported did not come under the ambit of the Constitution. “This could have been questioned in any court of law,” he claimed.
Yadav accused the Congress of being an “anti-poor” party and said: “For the last 70 years, they did not allow any scheme to favour 15,000 small caste groups in the country. They don’t want these groups to get their rights.”
He also questioned the Congress on implementation of the Kaka Kalelkar Committee recommendations as well as the Mandal Commission over the years.
“Whatever schemes we brought, the Congress opposed these — like demonetisation, which was brought to benefit the poor. We brought in MUDRA scheme, but they opposed it. We opened accounts of the poor under the Jan Dhan Scheme, the Congress opposed it,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
“We brought the bill on Aadhaar cards and the Congress not only opposed it but also filed a petition in the Supreme Court so that money doesn’t reach the poor,” the BJP leader said.
“Is minority politics more important for the Congress or those deprived of their rights for long,” Yadav asked.
Surjewala said: “Under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, a systematic decimation of the rights of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and the backward classes, has become the mantra.”
“As the BJP attempts to put a lid on this sordid episode by blaming the Congress, let us remind the nation that it is the Congress which brought in 27 per cent reservation for the backward classes in jobs/educational institutions and constituted a commission on the issue,” the Congress leader said.
“Instead of enacting a public drama of admonishing its MPs for absence from the Rajya Sabha, Modi and Shah must apologise to the backward classes for compromising their interests and bring in fresh legislation to undo the wrong,” Surjewala added.