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Rahul Gandhi Counters Modi: Congress if Voted to Power will get 50% Cap on Reservation Removed

Rahul Gandhi Counters Modi: Congress if Voted to Power will get 50% Cap on Reservation Removed

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 6: With reservation becoming one of the most important taking points in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said his party if voted to power would work for getting removed the Supreme Court-imposed cap on 50 per cent reservation and hike the quota based on the population of each backward class.

Addressing a poll rally at Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, Mr Gandhi underlined the importance of a caste census and said the Congress if voted to power would increase quota benefits for people from Dalit, backward and tribal communities.

Mr Gandhi apparently was trying to counter the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anti-campaign cautioning the voters against voting for the Grand Old Party expressing apprehension that the Congress if voted to power would snatch away the reservation quota of the backward classes to reward the Muslims with religion-based reservation quota. Mr Modi had also been promising the voters that he would not allow religion-based reservation in India “so long I am alive.”

“I want to tell you from this stage that leave aside (talk of) snatching reservation, we are going to raise it above 50 per cent. The court has contained the reservation limit at 50 per cent,” he said. Mr Gandhi said this election was being fought to save the Constitution. “BJP and RSS want to finish this, change this. And the Congress and INDIA bloc are trying to save this. This Constitution has given you rights on jal (water), jangal (forest), zameen (land). Narendra Modi wants to remove them, he wants full power,” he said, holding a copy of the Constitution.

On the contrary, Mr Gandhi claimed, the BJP if voted back to  power for the third time was inclined to change the constitution and snatch away reservation benefits of the weaker sections of the society and give all the benefits to the chosen few industrialists and others. “Mr Modi wants to snatch the people’s rights. The Congress and the opposition INDIA alliance were protecting the Constitution, he added. “Their leaders have said that they will snatch away reservation given to tribals, Dalits and OBCs,” Gandhi said.

The BJP leaders, he said, had declared that they would change the Constitution if they win. “That’s why they gave the ‘400 seats’ slogan. But forget 400, they are not getting 150 seats. They say that we will remove reservation. I want to tell you from this stage, we will increase reservation beyond the 50 per cent cap. We will give as much reservation as needed for the poor, the backwards, Dalits and adivasis,” he said.

Mr Gandhi’s remarks come amid a high-pitched campaign for the Lok Sabha polls and heated exchanges between the NDA and the INDIA bloc on reservation.

The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has alleged that the Congress plans to tinker with the reservation for backward classes to benefit Muslims. The Congress has denied the allegations. At a rally in Gujarat Banaskantha, the Prime Minister said, “I challenge the ‘shehzada’ of the Congress as well as his party and its supporters to announce they will never misuse reservation in the name of religion, nor will they play with the Constitution or grant reservation in the name of religion.”

At the Ratlam rally, Mr Gandhi said the media did not show news related to atrocities on Adivasis. “Your children are raped, your land is snatched, but media does not report. There is a reason. There are no Adivasis in these media companies,” he said.

Mr Gandhi said 90 bureaucrats run the country’s government. “They distribute the budgets. Only 1 out of the 90 is an Adivasis, three are from backward classes, three from the Dalit community. Your people are neither in the media nor the corporate world. We want to change this. This is why we have decided to carry out a caste Census and an economic survey,” he said.

The Congress leader also said if voted to power, the party would increase payment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from Rs 250 to Rs 400. Last month, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge too had promised to raise the minimum wages under the MGNREGA to Rs 400/day if the party formed the next government.

Claiming that current unemployment in the country was the highest in the last 45 years, Rahul alleged that PM Modi lied about his government giving employment to two crore (youth annually). “Modiji only cares for 22 billionaire businessmen and has waived their loans of lakhs of crores,” he added.

He also said the Opposition bloc’s government will deposit Rs 1 lakh into the accounts of poor women to make them lakhpatis. As per his address, a poor woman will be given Rs 1 lakh (annually) under the Mahalaxmi Yojana until her family is pulled out of poverty. “As part of the scheme, a woman will get Rs 8,500 per month,” he said.


Mr Gandhi also assured farmers relief in the form of assured Minimum Support Price (MSP) and loan waivers. “These are our guarantees. They will change your life,” he told the crowd. Ratlam votes on May 13 in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election. The Congress has fielded former MP and former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria. Anita Nagar Singh Chauhan is the BJP’s pick from the seat they won in the 2019 election.



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