The Reservation in Promotion issue is getting uglier in Uttar Pradesh. The Akhilesh Yadav Government by taking the help of law, has turned down the decision of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on the Reservation in Promotion issue. Due to support of the Dalits and OBC’s for different parties in Uttar Pradesh, these supporters and protestors of the parties are fighting against each other. The Reservation in Promotion issue has become almost a question of life and death for the people. 18 lakh government workers were using ‘strike’ like methods to protest against the promotion issue. On the other hand after hearing about the Reservation in Promotion issue, the government workers who are supporting this promotion issue worked four hours extra in their offices to express their happiness.
We can get a clear idea about the ugliness of this reservation issue from what happened when the Bill was about to be submitted in the Rajya Sabha. Two respected MPs, Avtar Singh ( BSP ), and Naresh Agarwal from the Samajwadi Party (SP), almost came to blows with each other. Avtar Singh said that Naresh Agarwal was trying to destroy the copy of the Bill, whereas Naresh Agarwal said that he was going towards the well for protesting against the Bill. He also said that the BSP MP did this ‘pageant’, which is an unparliamentary act on the indication of the BSP supremo.
The discussion and debate are about the Reservation in Promotion of government jobs. But the issue has caused a disturbance even in villages. The backward castes are demanding reservation “according to benefit”. Similarly, the Dalits are also demanding reservation “according to benefit”. It is worth mentioning that for the last two decades, the backward castes are in power in Northern India. With the help of power the people of the backward castes have taken too many advantages. They occupied many farm lands. Due to people from the backward caste, Dalits remained as small farmers and labourers. That is why the Dalits and the backward castes have been at loggerheads since years. And that is also part of the reason why the issue of reservation of the Dalits for government jobs is spreading like a fire. The leaders of the backward castes are either protesting against the reservation of the Dalits or they are demanding reservation for themselves.
To arm themselves with the law, Manmohan Singh’s Government is trying to amend the Constitution for providing Reservation in Promotion to Dalits. But the actual intention behind this can be easily understood. The Reservation issue has become a political weapon and each and every party is trying to use this weapon in the elections. Stalwarts like Dr. B.R Ambedkar never recommended the use of reservation as a standard solution for contentious issues that emerged in the caste fraternity.
In the mean time the Reservation devil which has come out of the bottle is not going to go inside very easily. This devil came out of the bottle when the Central Government sanctioned the related Constitutional Amendment Bill to provide promotion in government jobs for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). It cannot be ignored that in Uttar Pradesh the Mayawati Government imposed a similar kind of decision which was stipulated as invalid and consequently rejected by the Supreme Court in April 2012. The Reservation in Promotion Bill by the Central Government can already be seen against the background of the decision of the court. This Bill will become a law later but ever since it has been introduced, a storm has been created in the political arena of Uttar Pradesh. The Samajwadi Party protested against the decision of the Central Government and 18 lakhs workers of OBC are also annoyed with the Reservation in Promotion of SC’s and ST’s. As a protest, apart from emergency services, around 18 lakhs workers from other department have gone for strike. Shailendra Dubey, the Chairman of the Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakhsan Samiti said that for protesting against the decision of the Central Government, apart from strikes, 18 lakhs workers will also apply different ways.
The Reservation devil came out of the bottle when the Central Government sanctioned the related Constitutional Amendment Bill to provide promotion in government jobs for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). It cannot be ignored that in Uttar Pradesh the Mayawati Government imposed a similar kind of decision which was stipulated as invalid and consequently rejected by the Supreme Court in April 2012.
On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party while saying that this decision made by the Manmohan Singh Government is unconstitutional, also said that it is an attempt by the Government to divert attention from the allotment of coal blocks. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that we are discussing this decision made by the Central Government. It is unconstitutional. He also said that Constitution Amendment on this issue has been done four times and every time the Supreme Court has rejected it. Once again, Amendment will be done and the Supreme Court will again reject it. He added that in the 2014 General Elections, the public will teach a lesson for this dogmatic act. While holding the provisions of the Bill to be unconstitutional, he said that his party will strongly protest against it. It is worth noting that during the meeting called by Dr. Manmohan Singh for discussing the Bill, the SP rigidly protested against it.
The SP told that they will continue their protest against the Reservation in Promotion. The NDA seemed divided on this issue. The BJP has hidden its cards. They are not going to allow the Central Government to divert attention from the the coal allotment case. The Congress Party has also jumped into the battle. But the voices of the Congress leaders don’t seem to be similar. An OBC Congress leader has demanded Reservation in Promotion for OBC people. BSP supremo Mayawati has welcomed the decision of the Central Government. Among the parties who are supporting this Bill, BSP is in the forefront. But the BJP has not yet shown their cards. Mayawati met the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha,. Sushma Swaraj and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley to convince them to support her party. It is worth mentioning that in order to pass the Constitutional Amendment Bill, two-third majority of the present members of every house is essential. The Government called for a meeting of all parties on 21 August to arrive at a general consensus on this issue. The majority of the parties present at the meeting backed the Bill but some parties like the BJP suggested that the Government shouldn’t make any decision in a hurry and they should sanction the Bill only after clarifying every aspect. Mayawati was so excited about the Bill that she along with her party colleague Satish Chandra Mishra requested. Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to allow Parliament to function so that the related Constitutional Amendment Bill can be passed.
It was said that the BJP leaders didn’t give any firm answer to Mayawati. Significantly, even though the Government has presented the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, questions are being raised about the intentions of the Government. Mayawati also said that in view of the stalled situation of the Parliament it will be not be easy to pass the Bill. She also said if the BJP and its supporters do not heed our appeal and the UPA Government is unable to pass the Bill, then we will think that they do not want the SC’s and ST’s to become successful in their lives or take the benefit of promotions. Mayawati said that arguments and discussions have already taken place on this issue in the last session, so just one hour is enough to pass the Bill. She said that she is not against reservations for the OBC’s and the minorities. BSP is the first party to welcome this move.
While expressing their happiness and demanding that the Government should pass the Bill as early as possible, the Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti said that due to the decision made by the Central Government to amend the Constitution for Reservation in Promotion, partisan workers and officials put in an extra four hours of work on 5 September. The coordinator of the Samiti, Avdesh Verma said that they will continue with their efforts until the Bill has been sanctioned. He also said that SC’s and ST’s should get reservation at any cost. He clearly stated that if any organisation will protest against imposition of the Bill, then the Samiti will fully support the Central Government. Administrative work will not be affected. 7 lakhs reservation supporters across the country will help the Samiti. In the mean time, the Ambedkar Mahasabha has welcomed the the Constitutional Amendment decision. The President of the Ambedkar Mahasabha, Lalji Prasad Nirmal and National Coordinator of Bhagidari Andolan, PC Kuril said that the Government should pass this Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. Former Leader and Secretary General of the National Communist Party, Mr. Kaushal Kishore has also said that the backwards should get reservation in promotion. On the other hand, 18 lakhs government officials of Uttar Pradesh went on strike when it was decided that Reservation in Promotion for the government jobs will be provided for the OBC’s. There were protest in front of the head offices of different districts including in the capital city Lucknow. The coordinator of the Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakhsan Samiti in Uttar Pradesh, Shailendra Dubey said that around 18 lakhs government workers participated in the protest movement. Protests were also made in front of the Vidhan Bhawan in the capital. The leaders warned the political parties, especially the Congress, that the general and OBC government workers will give a crisp answer to the Bill. The leaders also said that the Government is not only violating the fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution but also is disturbing the basic structure of the Constitution. They also said that due to ‘politics for votes’ the Central Government is trying to reverse the decision of the Supreme Court and the High Court. Social harmony is being hampered due to this kind of politics and it is not in favour of national development.