Tamil Nadu’s ruling Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) is facing fissures after at lease two of its key members welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
State Congress President, K.S. Alagiri welcomed the judgment upholding 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections in government jobs as well as for admissions to state-run and private unaided educational institutions.
While this was the political stand of the Congress at the national level, in Tamil Nadu, it has created confusion within the SPA as the DMK, which heads the alliance, was totally against the EWS quota.
DMK President and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has said that the verdict was “a setback in our century-long crusade for social justice” and called for all like-minded parties to unite to protect social justice.
Talking to IANS, political analyst and Madurai-based think tank Socio-Economic Development Foundation Director, Dr. G. Padmanabhan said: “Congress has always been for economic reservation and as TNCC President, K.S. Alagiri will have to accept the verdict and welcome it. DMK has been on a relentless pursuit against economic reservation and hence there is bound to be friction over this in the Secular Progressive Alliance ruling Tamil Nadu.”
He said that the DMK and the Congress leaders will have to sit together and iron out the differences in the days to come to prevent any major rundown among the allies.
Interestingly, another alliance partner, the CPI-M, was also not opposed to the economic reservation per se. However, the party expressed concern over the split verdict of three judges favouring economic reservation while two judges opposed it.
This has also created confusion in the DMK and its allies.
“There is indeed confusion in the Secular Progressive Alliance but at least opinions are coming out. In the opposition AIADMK, there is an eerie silence and even after two days, there has not been a proper response from the major opposition party,” political observer and retired professor, Dr. Swaminathan R. told IANS.
Stalin has already called a meeting of all political parties with representation in the Assembly on November 12 to discuss the issues regarding the Supreme Court verdict.