Tejashwi Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) senior leader and son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, in an interview with News18 Network Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, criticised the reservation introduced by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for economically weaker sections and called it a move to appease the upper castes.
Making his stance clear, Tejashwi said, “I am not opposing anybody. I want that if one is poor he should be given the rights. I believe that there are poor people in Savarna and also in other castes.”
Hinting at political motives behind the move, he argued, “Tell me, when Mandal commission had meeting for the reservation of Backward Classes, OBC reservation, there was a commission and surveys were done. That reservation was based on the caste census which happened in 1931. I want to ask, which commission held a meeting for this one (EWS)? What survey was done and what caste census was made? It is being said that it is for the Savarnas, but this is for general quota.”
He also criticised the parameters of the reservation, stating that if somebody has five acres of property he cannot be termed poor. “The one who is landless and sleeps on the roads…who is he then? Rich? The one who pays the income tax return of Rs 8 lakh, which is approximately Rs 66,666 monthly… how can he be poor?” he asked.
“Babasaheb Ambedkar included reservation in the constitution because it was the question of representation,” added Tejashwi, who is heading the RJD in the absence of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Lalu is currently undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi under judicial custody after his conviction in fodder scam cases. Maximum three people are allowed to meet him there every Saturday.
The RJD had on April 8 released its manifesto titled 'Pratibadhta Patra', promising reservation for SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs in proportion of their population in the private sector and the higher judiciary.
The ceiling — a 50 per cent cap — was broken after 10 per cent quota was given to the weaker sections among the general category so the people belonging to these categories (SCs, STs, EBC and OBCs) be given reservation on the basis of their population, Tejashwi had said while releasing the manifesto in Bihar’s state capital, Patna.
The apex court had fixed a cap of 50 per cent on total reservation, and the Centre last month justified in Supreme Court its recent law granting 10-per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), saying it was brought in to promote "social equality".
Advocating the extension of quota for them in higher judiciary and the private sector, the manifesto also vowed to carry out caste-based census in 2020-21.
Pointing out that the RJD also agrees with the Congress manifesto, it said, the party "completely endorses" the 'Nyay' scheme of the Congress, which would be beneficial to states like Bihar.