In a major masterstroke by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dispel discontent among middle-class population towards his government, who constitutes major support base for the BJP, today moved with a sensational act of providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections.
This move was cleared by the Union Cabinet, which is likely to influence the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The decision comes weeks after a party activist from Puducherry questioned Prime Minister over video conference why the government fails to come to the rescue of middleclass population.
However, the main opposition party the Congress has called it an “election gimmick”. But, dalit leader and union minister Ramdas Athawale described the decision “a masterstroke”. Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal supported the government move.
The centre is ready with a Constitution amendment bill which will be introduced in parliament tomorrow, the last day of the Winter Session. The bill seeks to amend two constitutional provisions, Articles 15 and 16, which prohibit discrimination on any grounds in jobs and admissions to educational institutions.
People who have an annual income less than 8 lakh, own less than 5 acre farm land, have house smaller than 1,000 sq feet in a town or a 100 sq yard house in notified municipal area would qualify for the proposed quotas.
The move, a BJP leader hinted, would come in handy to deal with reservation demands from communities that had been demanding that they be counted as other backward classes, or OBCs that have 27 per cent quota for government jobs and admission to educational institutions.
It would also help the national coalition led by the BJP to consolidate its the upper caste vote, considered one of the three crucial pillars of the BJP’s support base. The other backward classes (OBC), and the new Dalit sub-castes who shifted loyalties, are considered the other two pillars.