It seems opposition parties are now relying on the time-tested Mandal politics for their revival against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This was evident when they came together to disrupt the Rajya Sabha proceedings for its third consecutive day on March 28 over the Centre’s “casual approach” towards the statutory bodies meant for overseeing the rights of Dalits, OBCs and Minorities.
Opposition parties raised an alarm over the government’s decision to recast the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). Both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joined ranks while sloganeering and trooping into the Well of the House. They received support from Congress and Janta Dal (United) too.
“The Cabinet has taken a decision to rename the commission for backward classes and intends to nullify the backward castes identified by the Mandal Commission,” said SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav.
BSP’s Mayawati, too, charged the government of trying to jeopardise the interests of Dalits, OBCs and Minorities. They cited vacancies in the statutory bodies as an evidence to buttress their claim.
The government outrightly rejected these charges as misleading while reminding how the OBC bloc of SP and BSP had shifted towards BJP in the UP polls. “These people want to mislead the country… These people want to make it a political issue… Just see what happened in UP where maximum people from backward classes live,” Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said during the din.
“The entire country is wholeheartedly welcoming the PM’s decision to have a constitutional status for the Backward Classes Commission.”
The BJP parliamentary party that met earlier on March 28, too, congratulated the PM for his proactive move to create National Commission for Socially and Economically Backward Classes (NCSEBC), with a constitutional status on a par with the commission for Dalits.
The government also rejected the opposition charge that it was weakening the statutory bodies with vacancies.
“The process for filling up the vacancies is on… It will be completed at the earliest,” Naidu said.
Top government sources indicated that it was not going to appoint NCBC members as it was all set to be wound up with the creation of NCSEBC.. “Since we will constitute the new commission with a constitutional status, we do not plan to constitute NCBC,” confided two senior ministers.