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Modi govt decides to take backward classes bill to the people, accuses oppn of being ‘anti-OBC’

india Updated: Aug 02, 2017 00:09 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
Rajya Sabha,Backward Classes bill,Opposition

MPs of Opposition parties storm into the ell of the Rajya Sabha to protest governement's decision to hike the prices of LPG, in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)

The proposed legislation to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes is unlikely to see the light of the day anytime soon.

On Monday evening, the Congress forced an amendment in the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill to provide for the inclusion of a woman and a minority members, a step that government sources term legally untenable.

The government is in no mood to have a legislation with the amendment and may opt for a fresh bill, said sources.

“We are committed to providing constitutional status to the backward commission,” BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said. “Ek samay hamara abhi aur achcha ayega rajya sabha mein (There will be better days for us in the Rajya Sabha).”

The ruling dispensation is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha and is unlikely to get the two-thirds majority required to get parliamentary approval for its own version of the bill during its current tenure.

The ruling BJP has, therefore, decided to take the issue to the people, accusing the opposition parties of being “anti-OBC” and indulging in “minority appeasement”.

“Congress has cheated OBCs again,” Yadav told reporters. “The country will have to decide if poor should get their rights or Congress should be allowed to practice its minority vote bank politics.”

Yadav was the chairman of the select committee that examined the bill. At a press conference in BJP headquarters, he was accompanied by Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and Ganesh Singh, both OBC leaders from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

The ‘minority vote bank politics’ reference was in response to the Congress amendment that asks for a minority member in the commission.

The Congress amendment sought to increase the number of members from three to five, including a woman and a minority candidate of OBC category, and ensure the relevance of state commissions. It was carried with 75 MPs supporting and 52 rejecting it.

The present form of the bill, Yadav said, is legally untenable, as posts in a semi-judicial body cannot be reserved. “The bill we proposed has similar provisions as is available for ST and SC Commissions,” he said.

The BJP leader said Congress will become a part of history the day OBC communities ‘wake up’. “The 15,000 communities under the OBC umbrella have to take a pledge to annihilate the Congress, which made them suffer for last 70 years,” he said.

Hukumdev Narayan Yadav said, “Congress has always opposed empowerment of OBCs as community leaders, from Lohia to Karpuri Thakur, challenged its leadership in the past,”

OBCs are considered to be more than 50% of the country’s population and the BJP has successfully wooed them in the recent election. Minorities, especially the Muslims, are considered opposed to the BJP.

A combination of Muslims and OBCs (mostly Yadavs) form the core support base for regional parties such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.

Any split in this combination will be to the BJP’s advantage.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 23:45 IST