At a time when the BJP is facing discontent within over its support for the Women’s Reservation Bill, its ideological mentor, the RSS, has come out in support of the quota.
“It is good. Reservation will help women move ahead in different spheres of life,” RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya told HT.
Vaidya said the Bill was good and any objection on the ground that there were no quotas for backward women were just parochial politics.
“There is some politics going on here,” he said. “All women will eventually benefit. All women are women, and I don’t see the need to compartmentalise them in smaller identities.”
Apart from the RJD, SP, BSP and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, some OBC and Muslim MPs within the BJP and Congress had also asked for sub-quotas.
However, Vaidya added: “The prayog (experiment) should be done first. Later if some slight improvements are required, they can be considered.”
Vaidya also said Indian women had shown they could do well in public roles while maintaining a healthy family life too.
The RSS, seen as an organisation that celebrates the celibate male, has gone with the mainstream opinion within the BJP.
There are, of course, other concerns too. “Sub-quotas divide society, which runs against our idea of a united, shared Hindutva among all Hindus,” said a senior RSS functionary.
“And accepting Muslim sub-quotas would be to accept the Jinnah brand of politics that led to Partition...”