Sonia Gandhi snubs Janardhan Dwivedi over caste-basted reservation

soniaNEW DELHI : Congress president Sonia Gandhi sought to end the “reservation debate” within the party by declaring that extending “reservation to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBC is an article of faith.”
Senior party leader and general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had started this debate on Tuesday when he said that caste-based reservation should be replaced by reservation for the economically weaker sections.
Mr Dwivedi had said, “Reservation on caste lines should come to an end. The reason it has not happened is vested interests. Difference between social justice and casteism. Since Rahul Gandhi is taking views of people, I am urging him to take a bold decision. Only he who rises above all will be the future leader of country.”
Mr Dwivedi is an old guard of the Congress and not surprisingly many were left wondering if the comments were personal or reflected a changing stance of the party.
His comments also brought together political rivals as both Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) attacked the Congress and argued that reservation was a tool for social change.
“Even if a person is a millionaire, he cannot get a respect if he is in scheduled tribe,” said Professor Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. “I don’t think that it his personal view rather the whole party’s view,” declared BSP chief Mayawati.
The criticism forced the Congress party to distance itself from Mr Dwivedi’s comment but the senior Congressman stuck to his position.”Poor people are poor and they don’t belong to any caste. Mayawati has raised this issue. No doubt she is a big leader. But I want to ask her that she has come a long way from being a Bahujan to a forward (sabarn). Why has it happened?”
There were some people within the Congress who in principle liked the idea but questioned the timing.
Political opponents linked it to elections. “Though it is a very good idea but according to me, anything that is moved by Congress now and in the last six months it has only one agenda. They are targeting a particular group for vote bank politics,” said Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur.And with the debate threatening to drag the Congress, the party chief has tried some quick-footed damage control.

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