Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anything for UP

With the UP elections looking bleaker and bleaker for the Congress, it seems to have concluded that the Muslim vote is all that can save it from certain doom. Unfortunately, the Muslim vote is very much in the clasp of the SP. And that calls for desperate measures.

And what better than a quota? Now, the Supreme Court placed the upper limit for reservations at 50% in Indira Sawhney & Ors. vs. Union of India, and to invalidate that via constitutional amendment may not just be difficult, it maybe impossible due to the fact that the Court declared reservations in excess of 50% as being against the Right to Equality with reasonable restrictions and also clarified that this right is part of the Basic Structure and cannot be amended via. Keshavananda Bhartee vs. Union of India, with the only exception being for tribal states in North East India. Therefore, the only way to implement a communal reservation is to carve it out of the existing quota and hope that it too is not declared ultra vires to secularism.

Which is precisely what the Congress has done. First, it introduced a 4.5% reservation for minorities within the existing OBC quota. And then, Law Minister Salman Khrushid tried to woo minorities further by promising to double that. His comments met the ECI's ire and the implementation is now on hold in the poll-bound states. However, the brazenness with which the Congress has decided to prepare the ground for another partition is quite shocking.

Reservations are meant to be a temporary measure to improve the lot of the historically deprived. It is not supposed to be a political tool to be used to save a party in dire straits. The pseudo-communal parties such as the RJD cannot openly disagree with this move - it is rather brilliant, in that way. But the truth is that these parties are seething with rage at having their own quota reduced.

But when it comes to the BJP, this move was sheet stupidity. Not only did it clear the road for a direct Congress vs. BJP battle on this issue, since the pseudo-communal parties can only keep quiet and not comment, but it gave the BJP the upper hand with the upper caste votes as well as OBC votes. Since the traditional OBC parties cannot speak up for them anymore, they would flock to the BJP, which can and does condemn the move to introduce communal reservations.

A foolish move, if ever.

No comments: