The birth anniversary celebrations of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur on Tuesday turned out to be a show of one-upmanship among the JD(U), RJD and the BJP to claim legacy of the socialist leader and an icon of backward politics.
While JD(U) leader and chief minister Nitish Kumar attacked the BJP, saying its predecessor Jan Sangh had opposed the reservation policy of Thakur, RJD president Lalu Prasad warned people of the saffron party’s “design to abolish quota”.
The BJP, however, used the occasion to demand increase in the quantum of reservation in government jobs to 60%.
“The then Janata Party-government, led by Karpoori Thakur, had faced opposition from its own legislators, who were from the erstwhile Jan Sangh. They questioned his reservation policy and removed him as the CM. But today, I am happy that, at last, the same people (BJP leaders) have surrendered to Thakur’s ideology, his stand on reservation and are celebrating his birth anniversary,” Kumar said at a function organised by JD(U).
Thakur, who had announced a reservation policy in the late 1970s, was removed as chief minister under pressure from the Jan Sangh faction within the Janata Party, Kumar said. He then enumerated schemes of reservation that Grand Alliance government in Bihar had introduced for benefit of all, the latest being quota in judiciary.
At a separate event at the RJD office, Prasad recalled his association with Thakur and alleged that the BJP had put one and all into hardship with its demonetisation move. He also warned the people of BJP’s “evil designs” against reservation.
Referring to RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya’s comments, advocating review of the caste-based reservation policy, Prasad said quota had been provided to the targeted sections under the Constitution.
The BJP, which also organised a function to pay tributes to the socialist leader, advocated 60% reservation in government jobs. “If a consensus emerges nationally, we will raise the quota in government jobs to 60% and if a BJP government is formed in the state, backward and extremely backward castes will get 33% reservation in panchayat polls,” said party leader Sushil Kumar Modi.