Friday, December 16, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Pie within OBC pie: Cong eyes backward votes

Pie within OBC pie: Cong eyes backward votes
Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN | Dec 16, 2011, 03.38AM IST

KAIMGANJ (FARRUKHABAD): Union law minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday
announced that most backwards among OBCs would be given targeted
sub-quota within the 27% reservation, a policy announcement aimed at
pre-empting their possible bitterness over the proposed 'quota within
quota' for Muslims.

Khurshid, speaking at an election meeting from the power dais of Rahul
Gandhi and Union ministers Jitin Prasada and Sriprakash Jaiswal, said
formal announcement of "quota within OBC quota" for Muslims was as far
as "cup and the lip". He said the policy was a result of the Gandhi
family's concern for Muslims found by the Sachar Committee to be out
of the development process.

The law minister, however, added that the government did not want to
give an impression that it was snatching some OBC group's share for
Muslims. "So, other most backwards like nishads would also get
separate quota within the 27%," he said. The statement could change
the face of OBC reservation since the tumultuous advent of the Mandal

Sub-categorization of OBCs is resented by strong backwards like Yadavs
and Kurmis, who ride on their socio-educational superiority to benefit
from the 27% quota. MBCs have long complained that stronger backwards
monopolize job reservations - disproportionately to their population -
because weaker groups cannot compete with them in monolithic backward
category. The gripe is at the root of demand for categorization -
division of 27% into smaller units earmarked for specific groups of
BCs and MBCs.

As TOI had reported, the Centre has in principle decided on division
of the OBC list, but the issue is if it can be done in a jiffy ahead
of the UP polls, without consultation with OBC satraps.The terming of
sub-categorization as a bid to buffer government from backlash of
MBCs, who have been asking for 'quota within quota' much before
Muslims, is politically significant.It is felt a revolutionary change
to OBC reservation beyond Muslim sub-quota may have to wait, but its
announcement would help in pre-empting MBC ire at Muslim quota that
seems to be on the anvil. On the contrary, Congress can use its policy
intent to polarize MBCs in its favour. Kushwahas, Nishads, Koeris,
Nonias, Rajbhars of eastern UP, Lodhs in central UP, are estimated to
be 70% of OBC population in the state. Any opposition to the move by
stronger backward castes like Yadavs and Kurmis would further the
Congress agenda since neither votes for the party.

Congress has staked much on the 'MBC card' in the upcoming UP polls by
nominating them in big numbers, veering away from its traditional
upper-caste tilt, while hoping that Muslim drift towards the party
would make a new combination to extricate it from the political
wilderness in the state.

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