Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the passing of the Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha.
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 to give reservation to ‘economically weaker’ sections of dominant castes in in jobs and educational institutions.
This comes after the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet’s passed the bill that sought 10% reservation for dominant castes, a move that has been called a poll gimmick by several parties
While BJP leaders have hailed the bill, Opposition parties have termed it a ‘political stunt’.
The bill defines ‘economically backward’ as people who earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum and own less than 5 acres of land.
The Cabinet passed the bill on Monday.
Here’s a look at who said what on the bill:
The BJP president claimed that this would benefit “crores” of youth.
The leader of the J&K National Conference criticised BJP’s move saying:
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the bill was meant to benefit in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Yechury said, “The Modi government kept quiet for five years on this issue and suddenly brought (it) in now on the eve of elections and particularly after losing in the five states where elections were held recently.”
“This is an effort by Modi government to try and now combine caste passions along with communal polarisation in order to derive electoral benefits,” Yechury said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would be happy if people from weaker sections get job but questioned the NDA dispensation on constitutionally and legality of the quota.
Randeep Singh Surjewala:
While saying the Congress will continue to support every step that provides opportunities as well as employment to the economically poor sections of society, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “The truth, however, is that after four years and eight months, the Modi government has suddenly woken up to the woes of economically poor facing imminent defeat in the 2019 elections and with 100 days to go for polls... That itself raises certain questions on the intent, the bonafide and the honesty of the Modi government altogether.”
JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said all political parties should support the constitutional amendment bill in the Parliament to help the socially and economically deprived sections of upper castes.
He said the V P Singh-led government in 1990 had proposed 10 per cent quota for them, but it could not be implemented and added that the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar had set up an ‘upper castes commission’ in 2011 to evaluate their social and economic conditions.
“All political parties should support this move of the central government,” Tyagi said.
JD(U) is the ally of the BJP in Bihar.
BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe described the reservation for upper castes as a step to widen the social justice net.
“Congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the historic decision of extending job quotas for economically weaker sections. A commendable step widening the social justice net and underscoring the inclusive approach of the government,” he said.