Even as it has repeatedly voiced support for social justice in principle, the BJP has stopped short of making its stand clear on the bill providing reservations in promotion to SCs and STs till now.
While underlining support for social justice, it has said this should be subject to constitutional parameters without spelling out clearly whether the present bill is, in its opinion, keeping with them.
“There seem to be a lot of hurdles in the passage of the reservation in promotion for SC/ST bill. BJP is in favour of social justice for SC/ST but within constitutional parameters,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday. However, he refused to elaborate whether the present bill was “within” such parameters.
A BJP leader, however, on condition of anonymity said the constitution amendment bill may in fact open the floodgates for a creamy layer among the SCs, which is not applicable. Party leaders are also apprehensive whether the setting aside of article 335 — which provides for SC/ST quotas consistent with efficiency of administration — for the purpose of providing quotas in promotion would not make the courts strike it down.
Senior leader Arun Jaitley attended an all-party meeting with the Rajya Sabha Chairman to resolve the logjam over the bill, with the SP dead against it. The BJP — which has a core upper caste constituency in north India — also fears that the SP may take away a slice of its core vote by opposing the move.
However, the party seems in no hurry to get the bill passed, particularly after Mayawati launched a scathing attack on it during the FDI debate. So, BJP leaders are fine with the SP - the only open opponent of the quota - repeatedly blocking it in the House.