Mr. Kotha Prabhakar Reddy, Member Parliament, on 8th January 2019, seek a reply from Government of India, Ministry of Scial Justice and Empowerment to the question (No. 4475) on ‘Reservation for Poor’. Mr. Reddy’s question was : (a) whether the Government is exploring the scope of providing reservation for poor candidates from forward communities for education and employment; (b) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor; (c) whether the Government has received any demands from sections of forward communities like the Marathis in Maharashtra, Rajputs in Rajasthan and Thakurs in Uttar Pradesh to give reservation for economically weak members of their groups; and (d) if so, the details thereof and the action being taken by the Government in this regard?
The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Mr. Krishan Pal Gujar replied : (a) and (b) : At present, no such proposal is under consideration. (c) and (d) : No such proposal has been received by the Government.
On January 7, 2019, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019 on 10 percent reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the general category in education and employment gets approval of the Central Cabinet. On January 8, the last day of the Winter Session this ‘historic’ Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and on January 9 in the Rajya Sabha by extending the Session one day ahead. But the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment gives the above information in response to the question in Parliament around 11 am!
In the view of the Socialist Party, these facts tell us that the Modi government does not care about the parliamentary system, its dignity and its sanctity. The government did not put the Bill for debate in the arena of civil society nor sent it to the Select Committee of the Parliament. Of course, the Government has declared this decision as a ‘master stroke’ with the intention of winning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This ‘master stroke’ of the government reminds of VP Singh’s decision to implement the Mandal Commission’s recommendations in one stroke. VP Singh applied that ‘master stroke’ with the goal to finish his mentor Devi Lal in the battle of political dominance. But the difference in both decisions is that the Mandal Commission was constituted by the Parliament and the Mandal Commission’s recommendations on reservation were in line with the basic structure of the Constitution and the concept of social justice as provided in the Constitution. This decision of the present government is totally opposite to the basic structure of the Constitution and the constitutional concept of the social justice, where reservation is arranged for socially backward communities suffered in past history.
The Socialist Party perceives this decision of the Modi Government as “historic” in the sense that now the political parties and the governments in India will not formulate their policies on the basis of the Directive Principals of the State (i.e. socialist system) as enshrined in the Constitution aimed at building an egalitarian India by removing economic disparity and erasing caste discrimination. Rather they will continue to pursue the goal of making ‘New India’ of the rich at the expense of the working classes under corporate capitalism. The poor of the country is expected not to oppose the anti-constitutional alliance of corporate capitalism and political parties.
The government has thrown this carrot of reservation on economic basis. Almost all opposition parties have supported the Bill in both the Houses. The political leaders who have opposed it are guided by the electoral politics. They do not have a fundamental opposition to the government’s intention of destroying the basic structure of the Constitution.
The authenticity of those who are opposing this decision outside political parties, would be based on the criterion whether they are decisively opposing corporate capitalism or not and whether they are willing to understand the truth that Brahmanism-Manuism have been completely transformed into capitalism. As a result of this phenomenon, the contemplation and behavior of the advocates of social justice is itself being controlled by Brahmanism-Manuism along with capitalism.
Some people are convinced that this decision by the BJP is not going to award them any immediate benefit in the Lok Sabha elections, so there is no need to take it too seriously. Such people should understand that the BJP is going ahead with an immediate target even as they keep in mind a far-reaching target. While there is no far-reaching goal in addition to the immediate goal of retaining power before the parties, leaders and civil society activists who talk of social justice and socialist ideology.
The Socialist Party would further like to state that with this decision the BJP has embedded the political discourse of the country firmly, apart from religion, with caste; and has therefore pushed the country into the pit of counter-revolution. Even after 70 years of Independence, there is no progress in the meaning of citizenship rather it is progressively disappearing. In the ‘New India’, the identity of a person will not be recognised as a citizen but on the basis of religion and caste. In India this can be termed as an end of constitutional politics.
The Socialist Party opposes the Amendment Bill on two grounds: 1. This is contrary to the concept of reservation perceived by the makers of the Constitution; And 2. The government’s decision is the protection shield for neo-liberal policies under which the commercialization of education and elimination of employment is being done.
Dr. Prem Singh, President, The Socialist Party