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'Election Stunt, Immature': Mayawati 'Welcomes' Centre's Quota Move

File photo of BSP supremo Mayawati.

File photo of BSP supremo Mayawati.

Mayawati said her party has demanded reservation for economically weak Muslims and other minority communities but BJP did not do "justice" to them and that is condemnable.

Lucknow: BSP chief Mayawati said on Tuesday the Union Cabinet's decision to provide 10% reservation in education and government jobs to the economically weaker sections was an "election stunt and political gimmick" of the BJP. However, she said that the party welcomes the "immature" move.

"The decision taken by the central government is good but the intent behind it is suspicious. The quota was approved by the Cabinet in an immature way and without preparation. It's more of a political stunt as it has come ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. It would have been better had the government taken the decision earlier," she said while speaking to ANI.

The Cabinet on Monday cleared the quota for economically weaker sections. The move came as the upper castes, a staunch support base of the BJP, have shown signs of drifting away from the ruling party ahead of Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May this year.

Her reaction came a day after other opposition parties too questioned the timing of the Cabinet decision. But they have also extended support, reflecting the decision's political significance. The BJP has termed the government decision "historic".

Mayawati said her party has demanded reservation for economically weak Muslims and other minority communities but BJP did not do "justice" to them and that is condemnable.

"The party had written a letter in this regard to the government but Centre took a narrow and communal stand and provided the benefit to only a particular section (upper caste), which is injustice for other sections," she said.

"In reality, there should be review of reservation provided to SC/ST and OBC and these sections should be provided reservation as per their population by increasing their quota by amending the Constitution," she said, demanding the implementation of quota in promotions.

Congress also dubbed it as a "poll gimmick" and questioned how the government was planning to juggle the numbers for the same since the Supreme Court had placed a 50% limit on quotas. In a tweet, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned why the government waited for four years and eight months to announce the move.

The Union government is likely to bring a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament to provide the quota over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation. Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution will have to be amended for implementation of the decision.

The benefit of the reservation, when implemented, is likely to be availed by those whose annual income is below Rs eight lakh and have up to five acres of land.

first published:January 08, 2019, 13:35 IST