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2-min read

How BJP Allies Shielded Party in Rajya Sabha From Opposition Fire During Quota Debate

The anchor of the NDA’s innings in the upper House, where it isn’t as strong as in the Lok Sabha, where the bill was passed a day earlier, was the LJP chief and BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan.

News18.com

Updated:January 9, 2019, 11:32 PM IST
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How BJP Allies Shielded Party in Rajya Sabha From Opposition Fire During Quota Debate
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the nine-time MP in Lok Sabha, led a spirited fight in favour of the reservation on Tuesday.
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On a day when the BJP came under heavy artillery fire from the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, during the debate on Reservation bill, it was the allies that saved the day for BJP.

The anchor of the NDA’s innings in the upper House, where it isn’t as strong as in the Lok Sabha, where the bill was passed a day earlier, was the LJP chief and BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan.

The nine-time MP in Lok Sabha, where he led a spirited fight in favour of the reservation on Tuesday, interjected at least four times in the upper House responding regularly to the charges levelled by opposition parties, including those representing the SCs and the OBCs in the Hindi heartland - BSP, SP and RJD.

“Since you are talking so passionately about the Mandal commission report, could you tell me why did you not take lead in pushing for the implementation of the report that was submitted in 1980, why it had to wait for 10 years to be implemented,” Paswan asked the Congress leaders

Sharing the treasury bench with the Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, who introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Paswan said that when the Prime Minister “talks about Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas he means it. He has not only taken care of Dalit rights by overturning the SC verdict on atrocities law, he has also protected the interests of the upper castes through this bill.”

When BSP leader Satish Mishra, while supporting the bill, asked the NDA when it could amend the constitution to introduce reservation for upper castes, why was the NDA not introducing another amendment to introduce reservation in promotion, a long pending demand of his party. Paswan said that the ruling coalition couldn’t be blamed since the matter was pending in the Supreme Court.

Paswan was perhaps the most prolific speaker from the ruling coalition over the past two days. But he was not the only ally to stand up for his coalition.

The OBC, Kurmi community, face of the coalition, JD(U) also defended the bill saying that it would go a long way, “in changing social stigmas in future. A sense of deprivation among poor upper castes will go,” the party leader in Rajya Sabha, Ramchandra Prasad Singh said.

Former Thakur face of Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh, who is rumoured to be quite close to the BJP since his exit from the SP, also defended the NDA saying, “now that we have introduced this bill you in the opposition are calling it a poll gimmick, had BJP introduced this bill before the elections in the five states you would have still accused the BJP of influencing the elections. This bill is a boon for forward castes.”

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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