BJP in support of quotas: Kalraj Mishra

Lucknow, Sep 25: BJP "firmly" supports the existing Constitutional arrangement for reservations, Union Minister Kalraj Mishra said today as he underscored the need for a debate on agitations by various castes for quotas, insisting these should be taken "seriously".

"BJP firmly supports the Constitutional reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and extremely backward classes. We believe that reservation is important for the social, educational and economic development of these groups," he said.

Mishra, however, noted that following a spate of agitations by various caste groups for quotas in government jobs and admission to educational institutions, there should be a nation-wide debate to address the issue.

"Demand for reservation is rising in many states and agitations are being held. This should be taken seriously and a debate should be held on the issue to reach a solution," Mishra, Union Minister from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, told PTI.

He said BJP believes reservations were "important" for the development of certain groups. On Mohan Bhagwat suggesting a review of the reservation policy which triggered a political storm that forced BJP to distance it from the RSS chief's remark, Mishra said it was blown out of proportion by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who he claimed "misinterpreted" it.

"Bhagwat's statement was with reference to the demand by the Patel community for reservation in Gujarat and it was misinterpreted by Nitish and blown out of proportion for political gains. They are trying to mislead people on the issue for mileage in polls," said.

Asked about how he expected the BJP-led NDA to fare in the Bihar polls, Mishra said it would secure an absolute majority "and even the grand alliance has realised that".

"Due to the rising popularity of NDA in Bihar, grand alliance constituents are demoralised. They are resorting to gimmicks to win over the people, but it will not work. We will get absolute majority and form the government," he said.

The BJP veteran claimed Congress, which has been marginalised in the state, would not be able to win a single seat. "Congress is struggling for its survival in Bihar and will hardly get any seat there.

Realising the state of affairs, Rahul Gandhi has fled away on a foreign tour, skipping the crucial elections," he said.


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