Opposition slam Government for poll stunt over 10% Quota Bill, question BJP’s intention and timing

Questioning the timing of the 10% Quota Bill to provide reservation to the poor in the general category, the Congress and opposition on Wednesday said the BJP govt was playing election “politics”

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

Questioning the timing of the Bill to provide reservation to the poor in the general category, the Congress and the opposition in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday slammed the ruling BJP saying the government was playing election "politics".

They said it was a disrespect shown to the Indian democracy's highest institution.

'The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019' seeks to provide 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically weaker sections in the general category.

The bill was introduced in the Upper House amid din following protests by the opposition which demanded it be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.

Speaking on the legislation, Congress senior leader and former Minister Anand Sharma said: "Why wasn't the quota bill introduced earlier? What took you 4 years and seven months? The elections are upcoming. You have shown another dream to the people. The question is, how many jobs are available in reality? The quota merely a dream that the prime minister is promoting," said Congress MP Anand Sharma in Rajya Sabha on discussion over Quota Bill.

He said, "The government promised to give 2 crore jobs every year in 2014. Forget about generating jobs, more than 1 crore people lost their jobs in the year 2018 itself."

"Poor should get benefits of reservation. Today, they (BJP) are claiming that the previous governments did nothing. You have to leave this mindset behind. You had assured many things 2014. After every high tide, there is a low tide. The country is still waiting for the acche din to come." Congress MP Anand Sharma said.

"You brought the bill in haste because you had to before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force, thinking that if not 2 crores then let's dangle a carrot in front of the public, show them another dream that Modiji made arrangements for their children's employment."

"But the question is how many jobs are there. 34 lakh jobs are there in the central government and they have managed to create only 95,000."

Quoting PIB data, Sharma said that jobs are getting lesser in the Public Sector Units (PSUs).

"In the PSUs of the country, in 2016 17 the jobs have come down from 11.85 lakhs to 11.31 lakhs. 54,000 jobs were lost in 2017. 43,000 lost in 2018. So you created 95k jobs and lost 97k jobs," Sharma said.

"This 10% reservation covers 98% people of the country. Before coming to the session, I talked to a lot of economists and they told me that going by the current numbers, it would take 800 years to fulfill this promise."

He also dared the BJP to bring the women reservation bill.

"If you are really concerned about women...bring the women reservation bill instead of 'beti bachao beti padhao' slogans and we will pass it tonight," he said.

He said there was a sharp decline in jobs whether in government or public sector enterprises.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), while supporting the bill, demanded that reservation for OBCs be enhanced to 54% keeping in mind the increase in their population.

"When you have already decided to break the 50% barrier set by the Supreme Court, I demand from the government that OBC of this country should be given 54% reservation keeping in mind their population," Yadav said.

"What stopped you for bringing this bill earlier? This is not even a money bill...If you had honesty, this bill could have come earlier and could have really benefited people," Yadav said.

He added that even if the bill is passed it will have to face judicial scrutiny as there is "no dearth of professional PIL" filers.

Terming the bill as unconstitutional and unsustainable, AIADMK's A Navaneethakrishnan opposed the bill.

He said that Tamil Nadu government already provides reservations of 69% to backward classes and the bill would impact the 31% people who fall in "open quota" in the state.

The bill was introduced in the Upper House amid din following protests by the opposition which demanded it be sent to a select committee for scrutiny

Prabhat Jha (BJP) said Prime Minister Narendra Modi by this Bill was not only fulfilling the party's promise to people but also promise made in every party's manifesto.

TMC MP Derek O'Brien said in Rajya Sabha, "The law-making process in India has changed. There is the right method which respects the Parliament. The ministry proposes a Bill, the Bill is proposed to the cabinet. Stakeholders participate in the idea."

"Trinamool Congress is disgusted and angry. The Parliament has been disrespected," O'Brien said. "What are you (the government) doing to this institution of the Parliament? You are insulting it," he added.

"The youth of this country are asking: Where are the jobs?" he said.

"Promise of doubling farmers' income by 2022 comes under Cheat India," he said. TMC MP Derek O'Brien. "We have tripled farmers' income in West Bengal," he added.

"If you look at the history of the last 100 years, demonetisation may be the largest man-made disaster ever," said O'Brien.

"I am missing someone. We are all missing someone: our prime minister," said TMC MP Derek O'Brien in Rajya Sabha.

"The prime minister, who was Gujarat chief minister back in 2013, was asked his opinion on caste-based reservations. He had said, 'If there are jobs for all, what is the need for reservations?'" O'Brien said.

DMK MP Kanimozhi stated that the government is trying to “make right wrong” through this Bill.

Attacking the BJP for bringing the Bill on such short notice she said, "The government thinks that they can’t decide everything unilaterally and force it upon people of this country”.

She asked the government what it was doing to empower Muslim women?

She also added "In Tamil Nadu, DMK, brought 3.5% reservation for Muslims, why is Centre not doing so?" She stated that the criterion for reservation shouldn’t be economic status. Amid interruptions Kanimozhi said "When you are an OBC, Dalit, you will still face discrimination. You may not be economically weak, but your caste will never leave you.”

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