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BJP faces diverse views from allies on quota to backward classes

Diverse views of BJP allies Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and Apna Dal (Sonelal) in Uttar Pradesh on reservation to backward classes have become thorn in the flesh for the ruling party ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

While the SBSP has given 100 days’ ultimatum to the BJP to implement recommendations of a social justice committee on backward reservations, the Apna Dal (Sonelal) has raised questions on the basis of the report without caste census.

The committee constituted in May last year had in its recommendations to the state government favoured division of backward castes in three categories — backward, ‘ati picchda’ (very backward) and ‘sarvadhik picchda’ (most backward).

“The recommendations of the committee cannot be implemented without caste census. The government should first do caste census and then implement any such recommendation.

The reservation should be according to ‘jiski jitni sankhya bhari, uski utni bhagidaari’ (based on population). And when the government has not done any census, how can it provide quota within quota,” Union minister and Apna Dal (S) leader Anupriya Patel said.

“If without caste census, the government implements the recommendations, it will be seen as a move of the government to create infighting among backwards,” she said.

On the other hand, SBSP chief and Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar said, “If the government does not implement recommendations of the report within 100 days, my party will leave the BJP and contest on all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.”

“BJP president Amit Shah had said that he would ensure reservation within reservation for backwards before Lok Sabha polls. Now hardly 100 days are left for the polls. We will adopt ‘ekla chalo re’ (march alone) path,” he said.

Backward classes account for about 44 per cent of the electorate in the state and play crucial role in making or marring political prospects of any party.

While two allies of the ruling BJP have expressed divergent views on its implementation, the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party sees it as a BJP ploy to divide castes for electoral benefits.

The BJP, however, countered the remarks saying politics should not be seen in every policy decision.

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