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Govt defends quota bill, Opposition cries vote bank politics

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New Delhi, Jan 8: Countering allegations on the timing behind government's move to include economically weaker categories within the general category for reservation, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley read out Congress' 2014 poll manifesto and alleged them of resorting to double standards.

Jaitley

The Congress has expressed support for the issue, but maintained the bill should be scrutinized by a joint parliamentary committee. Party leaders have also questioned its timing, calling it a "jumla", meaning political gimmick, ahead of elections.

Taking a dig at Congress, Arun Jaitley also asked the party to be little large-hearted to support the bill. "If you are supporting the bill, don't do it grudgingly, be a little large-hearted," Jaitley said on Congress's position that it stands in support of the demand for reservation to economically backward section.

"Efforts in the past were misdirected. Just as equals cannot be treated unequally, unequals cannot be treated equally," Jaitley added.

He also targetted the Left parties saying that "if communists oppose this bill which is in favour of the poor, it would be the first example of its kind in the world."

Here is who said what in Lok Sabha

Historic effort: Thawarchand Gehlot

Introducing the bill Social justice minister Thawar Chand said that "the government felt current measures were not enough, which is why the cabinet decided to approve 10 percent quota for economically weaker upper caste sections in Lok Sabha."

Congress changes stance

We support the quota bill. We are not against this, but the way it is being brought raises questions on your sincerity. My request is to send this to JPC first," KV Thomas, Congress said in the Lok Sabha.

"The bill says that whether aide or unaided, open category can claim reservation if EWS. But for SC, ST and OBC, the reservation is only for aided. Why deprive the SC, ST , OBC from unaided institutes?" KV Thomas said.

Bill is not about jobs, but is about misleading youths: TMC

This Bill is not about only jobs, but is about misleading youths with fake dreams. Making promises that won't be fulfilled ever, Sudip Bandyopadhyay of TMC in Lok Sabha.

Have govt schemes for the poor failed: AIADMK's M Thambidurai

"Have govt schemes for the poor failed? There are enough schemes. This reservation bill which you are bringing will be struck down by the Supreme Court," said M Thambidurai of AIADMK.

Better late than never: Anandrao Adsul, Shiv Sena

"I support the bill, as was the idea of Bal thackeray also. The only question I have is why did it take four and a half years? Opposition says it's because of upcoming elections.

However, it's sometimes better late than never," said Shiv Sena's Anandrao Adsul.

Reservation not on basis of caste is good: Ram Vilas Paswan

"Those who were rich after independence, not necessary that they are still well off. Reservation not on basis of caste is a good move," said Ram Vilas Paswan, consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister.

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