Manmohan Vaidya, head of the RSS’ communications department, sparked a row when he said that no reservations should continue for a long time and that the reason behind the poor socio-economic status of the Muslims is because a vast majority of them belong to economically backward states.
“It has been widely held that no reservations should continue for too long as it begins to be taken for granted. On Muslims, we have seen that 68-70 per cent of the Muslims live in Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which in themselves are very ‘pichre’ (backward) regions. So their poor socio-economic status is well understood. These issues are to be addressed within the community. What is keeping them behind. This should be done for all communities, not just for one,” Vaidya said.
Elaborating further, he said: “The subject of reservation has been there for SCs/STs in a very different context. There should not be any reservation for any community for a long time. There should be more opportunities, more education for everyone but more than that is complete appeasement and that is what has been seen.”
Manmohan Vaidya’s statement has put BJP on back foot. Similar statements from RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat had a devastating impact in Bihar election. Many political analysts believe that anti-reservation statement of Mohan Bhagwat was responsible for BJP’s loss in Bihar. RSS is the ideological fountain of BJP. In Uttar Pradesh BJP reached out to non-Yadav OBCs, its state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya is a non-Yadav OBC, and BJP has given party tickets in the state to dozens of OBCs. It also hopes to win seats in western UP on the back of Jat support. Vaidya’s statement could impact it in what might turn out to be a repeat of the Bihar assembly polls.
Vaidya’s comments may be used by the opponents to establish that BJP does not favour reservations for Muslims and Other Backward Classes, or OBCs. It can be interpreted to mean that BJP is against all kinds of reservation. But, the question is will Mayawati or Akhilesh be able to use this statement the way Lalu Yadav used it in Bihar Election.
Meanwhile, RSS has clarified that the statement was misunderstood by the media and RSS is not against the current system of reservation. In politics, once the political damage has been done then such clarifications do not have any impact.