At Agra public meeting, Prime Minister defends 10% reservation for the poor among the general classes
The 10% quota for the poor among the “savarnas” (general classes) was given “without stealing anything” or reducing the share of Dalits, tribal people and OBCs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday. Making a moral distinction between his efforts to provide quota to the economically backward and similar announcements for reservations made by previous governments, the Prime Minister said promises to provide reservation outside the 50% cap without amending the Constitution amounted to “dishonesty”. “You cannot go beyond 50% [cap] without amendment of the Constitution. If anybody had made promises without that, then some wanted to steal from share of Dalits, others wanted to steal from tribals or from OBCs,” Mr. Modi said. “They wanted to pick from these and enrich [ jholi bharna ] others so that their bags of vote bank are filled.” Addressing a public meeting in Agra, a day after the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, proposing quota for the poor among the general category, Mr. Modi shot back at opponents who questioned the timing of the decision and had linked it to the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Arguing that elections were frequently held in the country, Mr. Modi reiterated his pitch for simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
“Tell me, do six months pass in our country without any election being held somewhere? Had I brought it three months earlier, you would have said I am bringing it for the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana… Had I brought it before that, you would say it is for the Karnataka election… ,” said Mr. Modi at Agra’s Kothi Meena Bazaar grounds. A reserved seat, Agra is known for its high population of Dalits. Without naming any party or leader, Mr. Modi asked people to beware “those forces who are engaged in spreading rumours [ afwa ka bazaar garam karne mein judh gaye hai ] for their greed” on the issue.