So, finally the BJP has played its trump card! The announcement of 10 per cent reservation for economically backward groups in the upper castes is a masterstroke that has caught every political party off it’s guard. These outfits seem to lose their bearing. They don’t know whether they should oppose it of fall in line. To a serious observer of the country’s realities, it is another leap into the dark. There hardly new jobs and they are ready to dispense them. In reality it is confession by the regime that it’s a failure at every front. Indian economy has not generated enough jobs in the last almost five years. The government has done nothing on the education front to create a system that could help the youth into the economic stream.
We know that the public sector jobs are scarce and private sector is almost stagnant owing to questionable economic blunder made by this government like demonetization, GST etc. Indian economy is no longer as buoyant as it was the need of the hour. We are now back to distributing crumbs. From Mandal saga to today’s reservation for Swarnas, it is all appeasement – one form or another. Today every other group that can being the crowd on the road and tilt the balance of vote for one party or another is ready to don the mantle of victimhood. The original idea of reservation has been stretched beyond combating discrimination and empowering the truly marginalised. Reservation was never an anti-poverty measure in word and spirit. Reservation is too weak an engine to pull the train of poverty. You can’t address the problem of economic deprivation through reservation. It is preposterous.
Before the general election, as the new regional parties are uniting against the NDA / BJP, it’s as measure to thwart the opposition unity. This is the true backdrop of this act. But both the timing and content of this announcement reflect BJP’s desperation. Like all previous reservation measures or tactics is not going to do any good to the society in its entirety. Apart from its acceptance, there will be other constitutional questions to be qualified. Will a breaching of the 50 per cent ceiling, or the inclusion of groups that are economically behind is going to deepen the crisis of the judiciary? If it caves in, it will be seen as pliant; if it overturns its own previous settlement it has to set a new precedent. If it does not go against the euphoria, the clamour will be to portray the Indian judiciary as an obstacle to greater social justice. Catch 22! The least we can say it the government is taking a bet that all conventional legal precedent can go for toss and it can get its way. That is new reality of Indian politics.
It will be fascinating to see if any political party has the guts to speak the truth.