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Nitin Gadkari Concedes Job Crunch, Backs Quotas for Poor Sections Across Castes

Speaking in Aurangabad amid the ongoing agitation for Maratha reservation, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said ‘backwardness’, a key factor in determining quotas, has becomes a political issue.

Updated:August 5, 2018, 12:13 PM IST
Aurangabad (Maharashtra): Reservation will not guarantee employment as jobs are shrinking, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Saturday, adding that there is a "school of thought" which wants policy-makers to consider the poorest of poor in every community.

Gadkari made the statement while responding to questions from journalists on the ongoing agitation by Marathas for reservation and similar demands by other communities in Maharashtra.

"Let's us assume that reservation is given. But there are no jobs. In banks, the jobs have shrunk because of IT. Government recruitment is frozen. Where are the jobs? The problem with quota is that ‘backwardness’ is becoming political. Everyone says 'I am backward'. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Brahmins are strong. They dominate politics. (And) They say they are backward," the senior BJP leader said.

"So one school of thought is that a poor is a poor, he has no caste, creed or language. Whatever may be the religion or caste, in all communities there is one section which has no clothes to wear, no food to eat. One school of thought also is (that) we must consider the poorest of the poor section in every community," he said.

This is a "socio-economic thinking" and it must not be politicised, the Union Minister said. “My request is, we should stop politics over caste, religion and language. Poverty and hunger don't see caste or community.”

Maintaining that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was trying to resolve the Maratha quota demand by holding talks, Gadkari urged people to maintain peace.

"The responsible political parties must not add fuel to fire," he added.

Development, industrialisation and good prices for rural produce would ease the economic distress that the Maratha community is suffering, he said. “The pace of development has to be increased, jobs need to be created, poverty needs to be alleviated, more industrial investment has to be brought in. Rural population should get good employment opportunities and produce should fetch him a good price. On the other hand, there should be a consensual solution to educational, social and economic backwardness.”

However, in a tweet later, Gadkari said there is "no thinking at the central government to change the reservation criteria".

(With PTI inputs)

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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