//BJP slowly rallying behind Anti Reservation groups

BJP slowly rallying behind Anti Reservation groups

Sidhu extends support to medical students.

AMRITSAR, MAY 17 (PTI)

Cricketer-turned-politician and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu today extended support to anti-reservation medicos on strike and said caste-based reservation was "absolutely wrong".

"I personally feel that this is not fair on the part of union Government to keep reservation for OBC. The reservation on the basis of caste is absolutely wrong and it should be on the basis of merit", he told the striking students here.

Meanwhile, the anti reservation agitation of the medical students continued to cripple services in the government Guru Nanak Dev hospital.

Students are continuing their hunger strike and took out rallies on the main thoroughfares of the city carrying banners and placards containing anti-government slogans.

Sponsor OBC students in capitation seats: BJP

NEW DELHI, MAY 17 (PTI)

The BJP today suggested the government sponsor OBC students in seats available on payment of capitation fees as a way out of the reservation conundrum.

"There are about one lakh seats reserved for students paying capitation fees in institutions of higher learning. One of the solutions where social justice and merit can be balanced is by financially supporting the OBC students to get these seats", BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman V K Malhotra told reporters here.

Charging the UPA government with speaking in different voices, the BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha told reporters here that Ministers, including Arjun Singh, Pranab Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal, were "responsible for the pro and anti-reservation protests across the country".

Expressing surprise over the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the issue, Malhotra condemned the lathicharge on the students and said "instead of handling the issue with the sensitivity it deserved, they rather tried to justify police brutalities".

He also criticised the government for not making the reservation applicable to minority-run institutions.

"It is strange that while quota is applicable in Hindu college, it is not in St Stephens. It is applicable in Lady Shri Ram but not in Jesus and Mary", he said referring to the prestigious institutions in the capital.

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Anti-reservation stir gains momentum in Himachal

SHIMLA, MAY 17 (PTI)

The ongoing agitation of medicos against reservation gained momentum today with students of ayurvedic colleges, private medical and dental colleges and veterinary colleges joining protest demonstrations here.

The medicos and students of the National Institute of Technology responded overwhelmingly to "Shimla Chalo" call and about 1,100 students converged in the state capital.

The agitating students took out a procession from Indira Gandhi Medical College via Mall Road and main bus stand, burnt an effigy of HRD Minister Arjun Singh and blocked traffic near the Victory Tunnel for about two hours.

The police whisked away the agitators and let them off in the evening. The police also registered cases against some students and ten students were arrested.

The road blockade led to major traffic jam with over 1,000 vehicles lined up along the tunnel for about two hours. Even after the blocade was removed, it took about one hour to restore normal traffic.

Engineering students hold anti-quota demonstration in Jaipur
JAIPUR, MAY 17 (PTI)

Students of private engineering colleges here today held a massive demonstration to protest against the proposed reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions.

Hundreds of protestors holding placards and banners gathered at Shaeed Smark shouting anti-UPA government slogans and demanded withdrawal of proposals made by the HRD Minister Arjun Singh, sources said.

Later, a five member delegation went to submit a memorandum to this effect to the state technical education minister G S Tiwari at secretariat.

No untoward incident was reported during their protest, the police said.

A similar protest was organised by the medicos of RNT medical college at Udaipur, they said.