Why reservations and not reforms to divert attention, PM?

Written by: Shubham Ghosh
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India again got it wrong and this time, the move will prove to be a fatal one. The Congress might consider it as diversionary tactics, but for the national interest, this will be reviving the monster that had caused much damage in the past.

Approving the draft for the Constitution amendment bill to provide reservation in promotions for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in state jobs might justify political strategies by the Congress vis-a-vis the opposition and the possible permutation and combination ahead of the next national polls, but this will be one of those decisive blows for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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What the man has done has not only degraded the office of the prime minister of India but has actually made him a villain whom history will never forgive. Singh will be remembered as a man who decided to sacrifice the nation's interest to give an escape route to his party enmeshed in neck-deep corruption.

Singh knows very well that the Supreme Court of India had quashed similar efforts in states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh but yet allowed his government to clear the bill with a sense of urgency. The apex court had opposed the move mainly on three questions, the backwardness of the SCs and STs, their inadequate representation and overall administrative capacity, said a report published in Anandabazar Patrika on Wednesday.

The bill is likely to amend the relevant provisions in Article 16 of the Constitution for the fifth time and the Rajya Sabha witnessed a BSP and SP MP taking on each other over tabling the bill. All this was being carried out amid the BJP's protest over the Coalgate and Maywati, the BSP chief, who was obviously elated with the move, blasted the saffron party for overlooking the condition of the Dalits and tribals.

The SP, on the other hand, blasted the UPA government saying it was the diversionary tactics of the Manmohan Singh government to tackle the Coalgate issue. It also asked: If the Dalits and tribals are being provided reservation, then why not the same is being done for OBCs and Muslims who form the base of the SP?

What's the PM's role amid all chaos?

What is PM Singh doing amid all this chaos? A few days ago, it was him who had accused the BJP of engaging in diversionary tactics by crippling the Parliament while returning from the NAM Summit in Iran. Leaders like Mayawati, for whom reservation is nothing but a game to win votes, have taken full advantage of the ongoing political crisis and found a way to advance their own selfish agenda. She tried to convince the BJP to slow down its protest over Coalgate so that the bill gets passed within the few remaining days of the monsoon session of the Parliament and said the interests of the OBCs, religious minorities and other backward sections could be taken care of afterwards.

India's populist politics is an irreversible game today, we all know. Not a single party will oppose the move for a number of elections are due in the next two years, including the Final in 2014, but if the top leadership of the nation decides that the future can be allowed to left at great peril in safeguard immediate concerns, then nothing can be more tragic. The PM had reportedly sought 'valuable' advice from all political parties to find a legally workable solution after the Supreme Court cancelled Mayawati's quest to secure reservations in promotion in UP.

If the PM really intended to undo the coal scam in a positive manner, he could have gone all out for the much-needed economic reforms in face of the opposition's attack and could have brought all parties together in the crisis hour to save the government and seek their backing for the economic reforms. He, instead, chose to risk the country's future by bowing in front of vested political interests.

According to the ABP report, the government is eyeing to scrap the words 'not adequately' from Article 16(4) of the Constitution so that the factor of lack of adequate representation of a particular SC or ST does not create an obstacle to attain political mileage.

The government will instead say that irrespective of any constitutional provision, SCs and STs (as mentioned under Articles 341 and 342) will be considered as backward and no other article (Art 16 or 335) will cause impediment in reserving their promotion in government jobs. If the bill is passed, all those who got appointed since Jun 17, 1995, will become eligible under the new law.

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