Major UPA partners, including the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, refused to react to the Tamil Nadu government's suggestion that the Centre re-write the Constitution to ensure social justice and wholesome federalism.
But the RJD and the CPI said they were in favour of an amendment to the Constitution, and not a total revamp, to bring social justice to Dalits, tribals, minorities, backward classes and women. The CPI even supported the demand for greater powers for states.
Significantly, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had set up a Constitution Review Commission when it was in power at the Centre, chose to maintain silence on the subject. The DMK was then part of the NDA. "We will study the Governor's Address and then comment," said Prakash Javdekar, BJP spokesman.
"We have to study what Governor SS Barnala said in his address to the state Assembly. Only after that we will express our views," said Jayanti Natarajan, spokesperson of the Congress party that heads the coalition at the Centre. A similar reaction came from the CPM. "We will not comment on the subject," said Brinda Karat, CPM's Rajya Sabha member.
Since the demand came in the context of the Ninth Schedule that, according to the Supreme Court, can be opened to judicial scrutiny, several leaders see a genuineness in the regional party's concern. This is in particular reference to the state's decision to peg the reservation quota at 69 per cent reservation—which is above the 50 per cent limit set by the court.
But RJD leader Ram Deo Bhandary rejected the idea of rewriting the Constitution. "Suitable amendments can be incorporated if we want to provide rights and social justice to people… But there is no need to rewrite the Constitution," he said.
CPI leader D Raja strongly supported the demand for giving greater economic and political powers to states and ensuring a place for social justice related concerns in the statute. "We support an amendment to the Constitution in this regard," he said. He, however, believed that the state government did not mean a total rewriting of the Constitution while calling for a reappraisal.