Sonia pricks Dwivedi’s ‘trial balloon’ on quota

‘The empowerment of SCs, STs and OBCs has been an article of faith with the Congress,’ she asserted.

‘There should be no doubt or ambiguity on the stand of the Congress on the system of quota for SC/ST and OBCs. They were introduced by Congress, they have been strengthened by the Congress and they will continue to be championed by the Congress,’ Gandhi said in a two-page statement.

Her statement was apparently aimed at damage control in the wake of Dwivedi’s remarks stirring up a political row with Opposition as well as UPA’s outside supporters SP and BSP condemning the Dwivedi’s views projecting the same as Congress policy.

The discomfiture in the party over Dwivedi’s remarks coming months before the next Lok Sabha polls was palpable and Congress and the government were quick to distance themselves from the remark, saying it was his ‘personal’ view.

Gandhi said that Congress is of the ‘firm opinion’ that the system of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs must continue.

‘This is essential to deal with the discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression,’ she said.

Amid uproar in Parliament over the issue, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla said in the Rajya Sabha, ‘The government is not considering any proposal to provide reservation based on economic criteria. The reservation as it stands today will continue as per constitutional provision.’
Seeking to make it clear that the party was not agreeable to Dwivedi’s proposal, Gandhi recalled that in the 2009 LS manifesto, Congress had pledged to carve out quota for EWS of all communities ‘without prejudice to existing reservation for SCs/STs and OBCs. A dialogue on this has already been initiated.’

BJP takes pot shots at Congress

New Delhi:
BJP on Wednesday dubbed Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s pitch against reservation on caste lines as a ‘trial balloon’ and charged the ruling party with deliberately trying to initiate a new debate to sidetrack ‘anti-government’ sentiment on issues of corruption and price rise.

‘This seems to me like a trial balloon...There is a deliberate attept to start a new debate in the country. This is not right,’ said BJP’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad.
He said, ‘our apprehension is that there is a strong sentiment against the government. On issues like unemployment, price rise, corruption, there is strong sentiment against the government.
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