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Opinion: OBC Quota in NEET Courageous Pro-social justice Move since Mandal Commission

The hue and cry over NEET reservation targeting Prime Minister Modi and his government by the Congress and its subordinate organisations has been exposed now, writes Nikhil Anand.

The hue and cry over NEET reservation targeting Prime Minister Modi and his government by the Congress and its subordinate organisations has been exposed now, writes Nikhil Anand.

This decision shows the commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend constitutional reservation policy to OBCs at par with SC/STs.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the historic decision to implement OBC reservation in NEET, the long-pending demand of backward communities of India gets fulfilled. This decision is a rectification of historic blunders made by the Congress party against the OBCs since Independence. Shamefully, OBC reservation in NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) was used as propaganda against Prime Minister Modi by the Congress and their subordinate political and non-political organizations. But the fact is that anti-reservation Congress was always opposed to the idea of giving reservation to either SC/STs or OBCs in all-India medical quota seats. With the announcement by Prime Minister Modi, 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, and a 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker section (EWS) candidates in the All India Quota (AIQ) for medical education for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical and dental students will commence from 2021-22.

The all-India medical quota seats were introduced in 1986 on the instructions of the Supreme Court of India. The purpose of this policy introduction was to ensure domicile-free, merit-based opportunities to any student who aspired to study MBBS anywhere in India. Surprisingly, the Congress party didn’t bother to extend the already existing reservation policy for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to these medical quota seats. Not to forget the OBC reservation, which was not even implemented courtesy the Congress’ bias against the Mandal Commission recommendations. The treatment meted out to Kaka Kalelkar Commission by then PM Jawaharlal Nehru was repeated with B.P. Mandal Commission by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The BJP-supported V.P. Singh government at the Centre implemented the Mandal Commission, which was opposed tooth and nail by Rajiv Gandhi inside and outside Parliament. It was obvious that whenever the Congress came to power their biased, anti-OBC psyche was always reflected. Again, the Supreme Court of India ordered in 2007 to give 22.5 per cent reservation to SCs and STs in these all India medical quota seats. But the Congress failed to expand this to give reservation to the Other Backward Classes or OBCs. The Mandal Commission had already been implemented then.

When OBC reservation was implemented in admission to all central educational institutions in 2007 against the wishes of the Congress establishment by then HRD minister Arjun Singh, the 27 per cent reservation in all India medical quota seats were not given and opposed by Sonia Gandhi and Company. This way not once but on three consecutive occasions, the Congress party vehemently denied giving reservation to OBCs in medical admission through AIQ. This historic blunder by the anti-OBC Congress has been corrected with the announcement made by Prime Minister Modi on implementation of OBC reservation in NEET. This decision will benefit 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 OBC students in PG courses.

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This decision shows the commitment of PM Modi to extend constitutional reservation policy to OBCs at par with SC/STs in areas where they don’t have representation. Simultaneously, PM Modi has been very particular in initiating reforms in the field of medical education after coming to power in 2014. During the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56 per cent from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats has increased 80 per cent from 30,191 seats in 2014 to 54,275 in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 medical colleges, among them 289 are government institutions and 269 private. Medical education in India has achieved new heights of excellence and the last seven years have been path-breaking, courtesy the vision of PM Narendra Modi.

The hue and cry over NEET reservation targeting Prime Minister Modi and his government by the Congress and its subordinate organisations has been exposed now. The truth is that there has never been OBC reservation in all India quota seats for medical admission since its initiation in 1986. But the Congress-led Opposition built a propaganda campaign, claiming that Narendra Modi’s government is responsible for not giving OBCs reservation in NEET and that the existing OBC reservation policy has been stopped by the Modi government. This is a serious example of utter lies and falsehood, which has been the part of Congress politics since its foundation.

The issues and problems related to OBCs are a result of constitutional disobedience of the Congress party, which is responsible for the sufferings of backward communities in India. The anti-subaltern Congress has never spared anyone who has fought for or promoted the cause of nationalism and social justice in politics, whether they belonged to their own fraternity or rival camps. Forget the pre-Independence cunning politics of the Congress, the post-Independence politics of Congress has been anti-social justice and anti-nationalism. The victimization of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, B.P. Mandal, Karpoori Thakur, K. Kamaraj, Devaraj Urs to V.P. Singh, Arjun Singh, Sitaram Kesri, Rajesh Pilot and others clearly shows its bias against leaders who ever tried to express their nationalism or stood in favour of the exploited and downtrodden. It is simple for anyone to understand why PM Narendra Modi is targeted by the Left and liberal block, led by the Congress.

The sudden decision of PM Modi to implement OBC reservation in NEET may have come as a surprise to many but we must remember that he was the one who gave constitutional status to National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) after almost three decades of Mandal Commission implementation. Not to add, the inclusion of 12 SCs, 8 STs and 27 OBC ministers in his cabinet. These decisions are surely the most courageous social justice initiatives since the implementation of Mandal Commission.

The continuous effort of the Congress to abuse and malign the image of PM Narendra Modi, who himself belongs to the Extremely Backward Community, proves that the elitist political front has not been able to come out of its family domain and accept the changing trends in Indian politics. Modi also holds a mirror to the so-called socialist leaders who are promoting their sons and daughter in the name of social justice. PM Modi is the new ‘Messiah of Social Justice’ who is ready to break the entire jinx of the past with his bold decisions. With Narendra Modi, the subalterns have come to the main stream of Indian politics, not as mute spectator but as policymakers and decision-making leaders to realize their long-pending aspirations.

Dr Nikhil Anand is presently the National General Secretary of OBC Morcha of BJP as well as the Spokesperson of Bihar BJP. He has been a journalist for two decades. He can be contacted on Twitter @NikhilAnandBJP. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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first published:July 30, 2021, 12:12 IST