Just months ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019, Narendra Modi government has come up with economically backward upper caste law. Under it, 10 per cent reservation will be given to those who are economically weak in upper castes in jobs and education.
Although the opposition parties have supported it in Parliament, they have criticised the move as merely an election gimmick.
To talk about these and many more issues journalist Anurag Sason has an in-depth conversation with BJP MP Dr. Udit Raj, who is also a social activist for marginalised communities like SC and ST.
Here are important excerpts from the interview: (Scroll down to watch the complete interview)
Q1) Centre recently brought economically backward upper caste law. Your comments on this.
Udit Raj: I will express my views in my personal capacity. I never supported reservation on the economic bases. However, there were voices demanding reservation for poor among the upper castes. But I was always opposing it. But since the Constitution has been amended, I supported it, I voted it and I support it now. Let there be reservation for the poor in upper castes.
A few positive things have come out of it like now the upper caste will no longer be able to say that they are losing jobs because of the reservation given to the lower castes. Now, they are also availing reservation. Now, let see how many jobs they will get.
Now, they will not have the ground to blame SC/ST.
Q2) Political parties are saying that it is merely an election gimmick. Your reaction on this.
Udit Raj: They could also have done it. Who doesn’t do? Some parties announce the distribution of laptops. The entire politics of South India is based on this consumerism.
Q3) Do you think that this new reservation will affect in any way the reservation already given to SC/ST?
Udit Raj: No. The government has already detailed it that it will not affect the reservation provided to SC/ST.
Q4) Do you think that in the last four-and-a-half-years the Centre has done enough for the upliftment of SC/ST?
Udit Raj: There are many schemes which the government want to implement for the upliftment of SC/ST and implementation takes time.
But what I see is that the real empowerment of SC/ST has come from the reservation in government jobs and since long time government jobs are not there.
Unless and until jobs are being provided to them nothing substantial can come out from other programs.
Q5) Even after so many years of independence do you think that we should continue this reservation?
Udit Raj: There should be even more stringent reservation. It should be extended to the private sector. What’s wrong in it?
Q6) Delhi Assembly elections are scheduled next year. How you see the performance of Delhi government till now?
Udit Raj: They promised 70-71 things. Have they fulfilled their promises? They have worked in some sectors but in many areas, they have not fulfilled their promises.
Q7) In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Congress party is claiming that it will win all seven LS seats of Delhi.
Udit Raj: Anyone can say anything. How does it matter?
Q8) What will be the main issues in the upcoming LS polls?
Udit Raj: See elections are being fought more on perceptions and less on issues. This is an irony of this country and this is not with one party but this is the case with every party.
However, development, religion and many policies of the government will be the topics in the national polls.
Q9) Do we still have that Modi wave which we had in 2014?
Udit Raj: See definitely some change has taken place and it is natural. But Modi ji is still a very big leader. Every time the situation is not the same but yes the fact is presently we do not have any leader more influential than him.
Q10) Do you think Congress president Rahul Gandhi is giving a tough fight to PM Narendra Modi right now?
Udit Raj: Presently, the acceptance level which PM Narendra Modi enjoys is not the case with Rahul Gandhi. Maybe he can make some headway in the future.
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW:
About the author: Author is Deputy Editor in India TV and tweets at @AnuragSason
The interview is taken in the personal capacity and is exclusively for this website.
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