Arjun Singh rejects relook at reservation issue
New Delhi, May 14: Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today rejected suggestions for revisiting proposals on reservation in elite educational institutions and said it was upto Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide when to bring the matter to the Cabinet.
His comments came amid countrywide street protests by doctors over the issue of Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota.
Projecting himself as champion of the cause, Mr Singh left it to the Union Cabinet and Parliament to take a decision on the matter.
''This is entirely for the Cabinet to decide. As soon as the Prime Minister allows it come in the Cabinet, a decision will be taken,'' he told reporters who wanted to whether a Bill in this regard will come up in the ongoing brief session of Parliament.
Mr Singh dismissed as propaganda attempts to project the anti-reservation agitation as Mandal II. ''There is no Mandal II, III or IV. It is all propaganda to vitiate the whole atmosphere.'' At the same time, the Minister said he is ready to talk to the agitating students. ''I will always talk to protesting students.'' Mr Singh also criticised the National Knowledge Commission headed by Mr Sam Pitroda, majority of whose members have rejected the quota proposal.
''With all due respect to the great Knowledge Commission, I must point out to them that they are not above the Constitution. They do not need to speak to any of us. Let them decide and the country will follow them if they are above the Constitution.'' On the middle-path advocated by party leader Rahul Gandhi, who had said that both favouring and opposing the quota have valid points, Mr Singh said a middle path can be found in a calm and cool atmosphere and not when lathis were being used by one side and slogans by the other.
The Minister said no political party was against the proposal which has been passed in the Lok Sabha with near unanimity. ''If anyone wants to change his stance, they are free to do.''