Tejashwi for 90% quota, Nitish seeks caste census

The Indian Express: 25.1.19

Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Friday said “casteist people” had thus far blocked a demand among majority of the people to raise the limits of reservation, even though “they gave quota to (the poor among) upper castes in a jiffy, without any application of mind”.

This, Tejashwi said, referring to the 10-per cent quota among the economically weaker sections (EWS) of general category communities, “may be beginning of the end of reservation”.

The RJD leader’s remarks came a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanded caste-based census in 2021 and vouched for increasing the reservation limits.

Demanding that the quota limit be raised to 90 per cent, and its implementation in the private sector as well, Tejashwi said, “There will be now all-out war for raising limits of reservation. It does not matter if we are hit by bullets or are jailed for doing so…”The RJD leader also announced his party’s upcoming “berozgari hatao, aarakashan badhao (end unemployment, increase reservation limits)” movement.

Addressing the OBC cell of JD(U) in Patna on Thursday on the occasion of former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary, Nitish had said, “All castes should get reservation proportionate to their population. Since the 2011 social, economic and caste survey data were not correct, it was not published. Once there is a caste census, it can pave way for reservation proportionate to the population of a caste. After caste census, there can be amendment in the Constitution to implement it.”

Nitish also said that the Centre should follow the Bihar model of reservation for Other backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), rather than just OBCs. “The then Bihar government had tried to end EBC reservation but we opposed it successfully,” he said.

Exhorting people from the EBC community to stay united, Nitish said, “There are people who will try to divide you on caste and sub-caste lines.”

Tejashwi said RJD chief Lalu Prasad had opposed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s idea of review of reservation in his bid “to implement it on economic ground”. Mocking Nitish, without naming him, Tejashwi said, “A coward CM perhaps did not like it (Lalu’s opposition to Bhagwat’s suggestion) and broke away from the Grand Alliance. He is now joining the bid to end reservation (by supporting EWS quota). We are not going to tolerate – there will be movement now.”

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