Wrongly painted as opposed to quota bill for upper castes: Tejashwi
In an apparent bid to contain damage to his party which opposed the Bill for 10 per cent quota for poor among upper castes, RJD leader and Bihar’s leader of the opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Thursday said he was not against reservations for poor among the upper castes in principle.
“I have been wrongly painted as being opposed to the quota bill for job reservations to upper castes. This is not the case. I am opposed to the provisions of the new quota bill giving reservations to those having an annual income of up to Rs 8 lakh or those having five acres of land,” he said, while going live on Twitter in an interview based programme named #TejashwiKi Chaupal.
On Wednesday, senior RJD leader and former MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had dubbed the party’s decision to oppose the Bill in Parliament as a mistake, saying RJD chief Lalu Prasad had always advocated the need for reservations in jobs to economically weaker sections among the upper castes.
Though Tejashwi did not comment on Raghuvansh’s statement, he underlined that the new quota Bill was just a ‘jhoonjhunna handed to upper castes just to appease them before the Lok Sabha polls. He said there were contradictions in the quota Bill as those coming under the bracket of quota were also filing income tax.
“Tell me, how can a person earning Rs 60,000-65,000 per month be poor? Can a person holding five acres of land be poor? This is all a gimmick and they( read BJP) have tampered with the Constitution. Was there any survey undertaken to identify the number of poor among upper castes? Why have they not publicised the socio-economic caste census so that reservations could be given on the basis of numerical strength of each caste,” said Tejashwi, adding that his party had several top leaders belonging to upper castes, like Raghuvnash Prasad Singh and Jagdanand Singh.
Taking on the JD(U)-BJP government in Bihar, the RJD leader said chief minister Nitish Kumar had miserably failed in containing crime and in getting special status to Bihar. “ PM Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister should tell people of Bihar why the state was not accorded special status category. What happened to special package?” he asked. “People of Bihar should be cautious about BJP as their leaders, including Modi, only dishes out lies.”
The opposition leader also attacked the state government for allegedly protecting the main accused in the multi- crore Srijan scam and also giving patronage for long to those involved in the shelter home sex scandal in Muzaffarpur. “The rape case of a minor in Gaya recently is also horrific. We have sent a probe committee,” he said.
Besides, the Yadav leader also advocated that election commission should consider the growing demand of political parties to hold election on ballot papers instead of EVMs. “ Even in foreign nations, EVMs have been replaced with ballot papers. The EC should consider it,” he said.
The ruling JD(U) dubbed his live programme on Twitter as a publicity stunt. “Tejashwi knows his party’s support base has shrunk. But going to Twitter or holding any chaupaul would not give them votes,” said JD(U) state spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.