The Narendra Modi government has potentially conducted a political ‘surgical strike’ after its losses in the Assembly Elections in 2018. As per reports, the Union Cabinet has approved 10% reservations for the economically weaker sections among the Upper Castes in government jobs and education.
— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2019
The proposition would require a constitutional amendment to increase the cap on reservations to 60% from 50%. The government reportedly plans to bring an amendment in the Parliament tomorrow.
Although some reports suggest that the 10% reservations will be for people from the General category, thus indicating that it will be open to people from all religions, the overwhelming consensus appears to be that only Upper Castes will be eligible for it.
The move by the NDA government gathers special significance as it was widely speculated that Upper Caste anger over the SC/ST Act amendment bill led to BJP’s downfall in Madhya Pradesh. It was speculated that Upper Caste disenchantment with the BJP led to its demise in the state.
The move for 10% reservations is likely to woo back people from the Upper Castes who had deserted the party. Their support will be absolutely essential to secure a victory in the elections this year.
Reservations for Upper Castes has been demanded in the past by other political parties as well. BSP supremo Mayawati has also demanded reservations for the poor among Upper Castes in the past.
There is another speculation that has been doing the rounds that the Samajwadi Party and the BSP decided not to form a pre-poll alliance with the Congress so that ‘Janeudhari Hindu’ Rahul Gandhi’s party could cut into the BJP’s Upper Caste vote. Now that the BJP has moved for 10% reservations for them, it will be interesting to see the extent to which this political move succeeds.
If the reservations are announced by BJP, the Congress party would be caught in a very difficult position. It cannot oppose the move because if it does, it will lose the Upper Caste vote and if it supports, the BJP will still gain from it. From the perspective of politics alone, it is a potential masterstroke by the BJP.
The move for reservations for poor people from the Upper Castes also reveals what we can expect from the BJP in the next few months. In his interview to ANI, Prime Minister Modi exalted the contributions of the middle class towards the development of the nation. The middle class is another section of the population that is believed to be disenchanted with the BJP.
Narendra Modi had listed all the schemes and policies that his government had undertaken to benefit the middle class. But again, words are unlikely to sufficient in themselves. Therefore, it appears extremely likely that in the next few months, we can expect the NDA government to announce concrete benefits to woo back the middle-class voters.
With this move, we are finally reaching the slog overs of political drama. BJP President Amit Shah has time and again emphasized the importance of the 2019 General Elections for the BJP and it appears the government will now go all out to ensure its victory.