UP social justice committee report likely to spice up 2019 battle
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UP social justice committee report likely to spice up 2019 battle

Two allies of the ruling BJP have divergent views on its implementation while the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party sees it as a BJP move to divide castes for electoral benefits. The BSP has so far been silent.

lucknow Updated: Nov 28, 2018 08:15 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
social justice,social justice committee,OBC DALIT
The social justice committee has recommended dividing OBCs subcastes into three categories –backward, very backward and most backward(Hindustan Times)

The recommendation of the UP’s social justice committee to classify various OBC and dalit subcastes into three broad categories and provide quota within quota to them is likely to spice up the political scene ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in caste riddled Uttar Pradesh.

Two allies of the ruling BJP have divergent views on its implementation while the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party sees it as a BJP move to divide castes for electoral benefits. The BSP has so far been silent.

According to leaders privy to the recommendations, the social justice committee has recommended dividing OBCs subcastes into three categories – pichda, ati pichda aur sarvadhik pichda (backward, very backward and most backward). While 12 subcastes have been put in backward category, 59 have been put in very backward and another 79 in most backward-- each expected to be allotted 9 per cent reservation of the total 27 per cent allotted for OBCs.

A similar recommendation has been made for dalits dividing them into three categories with 4 dalit subcastes put in dalit category, 31 under ati dalit and 46 under maha dalit with 7 percent reservation for the first two category and the highest 8.5 per cent recommended for Maha dalits under the total 22.5 dalit quota.

Om Prakash Rajbhar, chief of BJP’s ally SBSP, wants the report implemented – he raised the issue at a political rally in Sandila on Monday – while the ruling party’s other ally Apna Dal (S) feels that until a fresh caste based census is done – the last being in 1931 – the accuracy of the data forming the basis of ‘quota within quota’ would be suspect.

“The chief minister’s decision would have a bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as implementing the report of the social justice committee would please various influential subcastes whose vote matters in elections but which have traditionally been deprived of the various reservation benefits,” SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar told HT.

He said that while some subcastes had risen up the social ladder, others have remained backward and illieterate. “Naturally many of these subcastes have been devoid of reservation benefits, a situation that would change once the report is implemented,” Rajbhar said.

Rajbhars – the OBC subcaste which the SBSP caters to-- is among the subcastes which have been unable to take reservation benefits and thus the SBSP is pushing the government to implement the recommendations. In contrast, BJP’s other ally, the Apna Dal feels that Kurmis or Patels aren’t excited about the report.

“We believe that until a fresh caste based census is undertaken it wouldn’t be easy to arrive at a logical conclusion on numbers that each subcaste has and the exact per centage of benefits that have reached them,” said Apna Dal’s Arvind Sharma. Instead, Apna Dal (S) chief Ashish Patel has now written to the chief minister to implement reservation in outsourcing jobs in group C and D category recruitments.

The Samajwadi Party has hit out at the BJP for conspiring to create division among various caste groups in the state.

In 2002, the then chief minister Rajnath Singh too had attempted a quota within quota for most backwards and most dalits but the move failed after Singh’s government fell soon after. Later, BJP’s political rivals had also moved court to ground the Rajnath government’s initiative. Leaders in Samajwadi Party feel that the government is conspiring to divide the caste, especially those which have traditionally been “anti-BJP”.

“For instance Jatavs the Dalit subcaste have been loyal to BSP just as Yadavs, the numerically dominant OBC group, have consistently backed Samajwadi Party and it is no surprise that such subcastes have been targeted. The move would pit one caste against other,” an SP leader said.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 08:15 IST