Under pressure due to Patel quota agitation, BJP government in Gujarat today announced 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward among upper castes, which include Patidars, with a family income cap of Rs 6 lakh a year to avail the benefit.
The decision, taken in the state party’s core group meeting in which BJP national president Amit Shah was also present, comes after the recent reverses in the civic polls left the party jittery in the state where Assembly election are due next year.
The reservation limit of 50 per cent set by the apex court will be breached with this decision, but the state government said it is “serious” on the issue and will “fight it” out legally.
It may be noted that the new reservation will add to the existing 49.5 percent for minorities in Gujarat. The community began a ‘mundan’ programme, where Patel men across north Gujarat got their heads tonsured as a sign of their regard to the cause.
The chief minister recently held a long meeting with a committee of ministers, led by health minister Nitin Patel, where the strategy to tackle the movement were discussed in detail.
Gujarat Government has also announced to continue Mukhyamantari Yuva Swalamban Yojna(MYSY) for the youth to give subsidy in higher education fees who could not get benefit under the 10% reservation.
When asked about the sudden change of mind, Rupandi said that, “considering the feeling of the Patidar community and all other communities we decided to give 10% EBC reservation. Congress just tried to encash the issue for political gain. We ask them why they did not gave any reservation to general caste for 60 long years. BJP has done it. We will demand from Congress to implement EBC reservation in Congress ruled states. We will fight for the 10% EBC reservation if required in High Court and Supreme Court also.”
He also said that the party high command (Amit Shah) had consulted PM Narendra Modi on this issue.
CM Anandiben Patel when asked about her pet scheme of MYSY, she said that, “the scheme will continue as an additional benefit for those who do not get benefit under the reservation.”