Sounding a warning note to industrialists and the corporate world not to take a rigid stand on reservations in private sector, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan stated on Friday that he as well as other supporters of the proposal in the government were now gearing up for a "battle" on the issue.
"There are several ways to get the proposal implemented. If the industrialists do not agree to it voluntarily, the government will bring it through legislation. I don't think any political party is opposed to quota for Dalits and adivasis (ST), whether it be the Left, BJP or Congress," he stated.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief said that he and the other votaries of the proposal had been patiently pursuing it for the last two-and-a-half years of the UPA Government rule. But now the time had come for a stronger approach and, if the need arose, his party would "take to the streets" on the issue.
The UPA's common minimum programme (CMP) clearly stated its commitment to "affirmative action" and the government was bound by it, Paswan said a day after the conclusion of the international conference on Dalits and minorities organised by his party.
The conference had passed a resolution demanding reservations in the private sector by legislation and enabling a constitutional amendment in the forthcoming Budget Session of Parliament in preparation for the move.
Accusing the media of presenting the issues related to Dalits and minorities in a biased manner, Paswan also asked the government to launch a separate "purposeful" public service television channel that would give an "objective" picture.
Claiming that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already taken a step in this direction, he said he would try to persuade the government to start this channel in the first quarter of next year.