New Delhi: Voices of dissent within the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the controversial bill providing reservation to SCs/STs in promotions in government jobs became audible on Sunday. This a day before the Rajya Sabha would vote on the bill.
Despite a whip from the BJP's central leadership to its Rajya Sabha MPs to vote for the bill, some voice of protests have started coming from within the party ranks. Senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi has warned against the bill saying it will lead to conflict.
"Divisive politics should not be played in the country. Reservation for economically backward people is in the interest of the nation. No matter what their caste or creed, the poor should be alleviated," he said. In Uttar Pradesh, the youth wing president Harish Dwivedi has also openly opposed the bill appealing to BJP MPs not to vote for the bill.
Even within the Congress, there are a few who are against the bill. Road Transport and Highways Minister CP Joshi has said that the reservation should be based on the economic background of individuals. "We will demand in our party that reservation should be based on the economic background. In this new era, reservation should be based on economic background and not like 50 years back when reservation was give to the SC and ST," he said.
The Rajya Sabha will on Monday vote on the controversial Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill 2012 that seeks to provide reservation in government jobs for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. While the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been pressing the government to pass the bill, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has issued veiled threats saying it could reconsider its outside support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the bill is passed.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had said in Lucknow on Saturday: "If voting is done on the bill in the house, I will reconsider my party's support to the government." Reacting to the development, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "The SP and BSP are hand-in-glove with the Congress. On several occasions, the two have jumped in to save the UPA government. The threat by Mulayam Singh Yadav is mere political posturing." Parliament has been disrupted frequently over the issue since the Winter session started on November 22.
(With additional information from IANS)