The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Cong seal on twin quota thrusts

New Delhi, June 27: The one thing that simultaneously binds and differentiates the Congress chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is reservation.

Aiming at the common goal of retaining power in the November Assembly polls, Madhya Pradeshís Digvijay Singh and Rajasthanís Ashok Gehlot have struck on different approaches to reservation.

Digvijay, who belongs to the upper caste and is up against the BJPís backward class challenger Uma Bharti, is wooing the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

A couple of days ago, Digvijay decided to enhance reservation for OBCs to 27 per cent, up from the existing 14, citing the two-decade-old report of the Mahajan Commission the state had set up in the 1980s to recommend reservation for OBCs.

OBC leader Gehlot, however, is wooing the upper castes after rival BJP tried to project chief ministerial nominee Vasundhara Raje as a Jat leader among the influential community.

The Gehlot government decided to provide 14 per cent reservation to the economically weak among the upper castes.

But both chief ministers are unlikely to be able to implement their decisions.

Digvijay will run into the Supreme Court cap of 50 per cent on total permissible reservations. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes already have a 36 per cent quota in the state and hiking the OBC share from 14 would breach the upper limit.

Gehlotís quota will face problems on the economic criterion involved.

Congress chief spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy, however, asserted that the chief ministerís contrasting moves were not aimed at the coming polls.

Reddy told reporters that the statesí decisions were consistent with party policies and programmes.

Email This Page