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BJP criticises opposition parties for stalling OBC bill

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-04-2017 PTI

Bhubaneswar: Playing the other backward classes (OBC) card, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday hit out at opposition parties, including the Congress, for stalling a “historic” bill granting constitutional status to the OBC Commission and asserted that the Modi government is firm on its resolve to ensure justice to backward castes.

Seeking to consolidate its support among the OBCs, it passed a separate resolution at its national executive meeting hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who comes from an OBC background, for the legislation, and condemning rivals for blocking it in the Rajya Sabha.

It accused the Congress and other rival parties of being “anti-backward castes”. The OBCs, comprising over 52% of population, are vital to BJP’s fortunes and a large chunk of them had remained indifferent to it before its concerted bid to woo them bore fruits under Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and then in the recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

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“It is a must to grant the OBC Commission constitutional status. It will give them justice and help create an equal society. The Congress and other parties have proved that they may preach social justice but practise only vote bank politics. The Congress did not do justice to them when it was in power and continues to do so now,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

He was briefing them on the resolution passed by the national executive. The present commission is “powerless” and cannot do justice to the OBCs, he said, asserting that the central government is firm on the bill’s passage. It will give the commission powers similar to the SC and the ST commissions.

He said the OBC MPs belonging to all parties, including the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, had met Modi recently to press for such a bill but opposition parties stalled it when it was brought. The Lok Sabha, where the government enjoys a big majority, passed the constitutional amendment bill during the recent Budget Session but the Rajya Sabha, where it is short of a simple majority, stalled it and sent to a parliamentary committee for review and recommendations.

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Slamming the Congress, the resolution said opposing a decision aimed at improving the living conditions of backward people cannot be termed right and the people sidelined for long should now get their due in the society. It is not right to oppose such a decision only for politics, it said. It is yet another pro-poor move by the government, the minister said, adding that various bodies, including the Mandal commission, had made such a suggestion.

The resolution moved by Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and seconded by the party’s senior OBC leaders, including Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raghubar Das, said it is after 70 years of Independence, a government has taken this “historic” decision.

“This is fulfilment of the long-pending demand of providing social justice to the backward classes of our society... This step reflects the strong resolve of Modi to bring equality in the society where nobody is treated badly because of their caste or educational backwardness. Justice needs to be delivered to every citizen without any bias or prejudice,” it said. Javadekar said the OBC commission will help people irrespective of religions as socially and educationally backward groups of minorities also fall in the OBC category. PTI

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