Press Trust Of India, May 29, 2006
New Delhi: Seeking to tread the middle path ahead of the crucial Assembly elections early next year, the Opposition BJP on Monday supported the OBC quota in higher educational institutions.
They demanded that the economically weaker sections of upper caste should also be included in the benefits of reservation.
Apparently attempting a delicate balancing act between keeping the large OBC electorate in good humour and addressing the concerns of its core upper caste constituency, party President Rajnath Singh charged the UPA Government with creating social tensions on the reservation issue and asked it to ensure that merit was not squeezed while implementing the quota regime.
"The BJP had supported the Constitutional amendment to provide reservations in higher educational institutions. However, while doing so, any attempt at division and damaging the social fabric of the society must be avoided," Rajnath Singh said.
Singh was addressing the party national executive for the first time after taking over as party President in January, 2006.
Asserting that consensus building was a must for such initiatives, he alleged that the UPA Government has "failed on that score".
"The Government must ensure that while implementing reservations, the space for merit is not squeezed and excellence of institutions is not compromised. Efforts must be taken to ensure that the benefits of reservation must reach the most deprived amongst the socially deprived sections," he said.
"The Government must ensure that the economically weaker sections of the upper caste are included in the benefits of reservation," he added.