MUMBAI: Terming the recent Constitutional Amendment, restoring power to states to have their own OBC lists for reservations in government jobs and education “a fraud”, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Monday demanded a caste-based Census, providing states empirical data and hiking the cap on reservations above 50 per cent.
He said that unless the 50 per cent quota limit imposed by the Supreme Court in its 1992 landmark verdict is relaxed, states cannot prepare their own lists of socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs).
“In reality, it (the amendment) will be of no use… The Centre took away the rights of the states around a couple of years ago to prepare and maintain their SEBC lists and that has been restored now. The government has betrayed the OBCs. Today, almost all states have more than 50 per cent reservations,” said Pawar sharply.
Giving details, he said the percentages for different states are: Madhya Pradesh – 63 per cent, Tamil Nadu – 69, Haryana – 57, Rajasthan – 54, Lakshadweep – 100, Nagaland – 80, Mizoram – 80, Meghalaya – 80, Arunachal – 80, Maharashtra – 65, Haryana – 67, Rajasthan – 64, Telangana – 62, Tripura – 60, Jharkhand – 60, Uttar Pradesh – 59, Himachal – 60, Gujarat – 59, Karnataka – 50 per cent, etc.
He said that since the Centre is silent on the issue of relaxing the 50 per cent quota limits, the Maharashtra government will be in no position to restore the proposed 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in government jobs for the Maratha community that was scrapped by the Supreme Court in May.
While the Centre later gave a 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections, almost 90 per cent states have exceeded the 50 per cent quota limits, so the Centre’s move will be of no use now, he claimed.
The NCP chief said the state NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal has been repeatedly demanding the empirical data from the Centre to enable the state conduct surveys and prepare their own SEBCs list.
While the previous UPA-II Government had initiated steps in this direction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government put this on the backburner, he claimed.
Now, even BJP MPs like Sanghamitra Maurya and ruling NDA allies are making the same demand, Pawar said, hinting that the issue could soon snowball and the Constitution may have to be amended further to relax the 50 per cent ceiling.
The NCP will now create public awareness all over the state and unite all Opposition parties on the critical social issue on which the country has been deceived by the government, he said.
While MP Supriya Sule presented the party’s viewpoint in Lok Sabha and other MPs also spoke, the ministers did not give satisfactory replies, Pawar said.
Pawar was flanked by NCP chief spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik, Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad and NCP state General Secretary Shivajirao Garje at his media briefing.