Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi plays the OBC card in election rallies and claims to be a champion of social justice. His occasional gestures of mingling with the people from the lower strata of the society have contributed to his popularity. However, when it comes to implementation of reservation, his party’s governments in states have allegedly been caught violating the norms of affirmative action.
Caste- based reservations have played a crucial role in the progress of the downtrodden sections of the society like the SC/ST/OBC since independence. The jobs in the government sector have helped these sections attain upward mobility.
However, alleged violation of the reservation system is quite rampant and often goes unnoticed. In the latest one such case, the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) released a notification for 220 assistant professor positions without fixing any quota.
The BPSC Assistant Professor Recruitment 2024 has the details of departments with vacant seats, number of vacancies, educational qualifications required for the announced positions, pay grade, age limit and concession in age limit. What is missing in the notification is that it does not talk about the number of seats reserved for the candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC communities.
Interestingly, the notification provides for concession in fees and age limit to the candidates from the SC/ST candidates on furnishing the caste certificate.
The Mooknayak spoke to Priyanka Bharti, national spokesperson of the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJD), the principal Opposition in the state, about the apparent anomaly in the advertisement.
She said the BPSC has issued notification for vacancies in the medical colleges, but the notification has no mention of the reservation of SC/ST/OBC candidates.
“As the government supported by the BJP came to power in Bihar, it began blocking all paths of social justice. In the Mahagathbandhan government, we increased the quota for the marginalised to 75%,” she claimed.
She said the BJP-led Centre is giving ‘Bharat Ratna’ to Karpoori Thakur on one hand, while on the other, they are blowing the dreams of the socialist icon to smithereens by stripping the deprived off their constitutional right of reservation.
“Jannayak Karpoori Thakur was the first one who implemented the Mungeri Lal Commission report in North India,” she recalled.
The Mungeri Lal Commission gave rise to what is now called the Karpoori Thakur formula for reservation, carving out a quota for the most backward communities.
This is not the first occasion when the SC/ST/OBCs are being deprived of reservation. In the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, around 6,800 students belonging to the reserved categories have been demonstrating at the Kanshiram Eco Garden in Lucknow for more than 600 days against “flouting” of quota norms in the 69,000 teachers vacancy, the notification for which was issued in 2018.
Acknowledging the discrepancy, the government had issued a new list — which was scrapped by the court in 2023.
It continued unabated. In 2023, the Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Staff Selection Commission (UPSSSC) released notification for the post of the village development officer (VDO). Out of the total 1,468 vacancies, only 139 seats were reserved for OBCs, which account for 9.75% as against the 27% reservation the OBC category candidates are entitled to.
In July 2023, the UPSSSC did it again. Of the total 157 vacancies for the post of Eye Testing Officer, no seat was reserved for SCs, only two seats were reserved for STs, and 30 vacancies for OBCs as opposed to the mandated 34 for SCs, three for STs and 42 for OBCs because reservation for these three categories are 21%, 2% and 27%, respectively in state.
The brazenness of the commission continued this year as well. Of the total 1,002 vacancies of pharmacists (Ayurvedic medicines), only 126 seats were reserved for the OBC category as against 270. One interesting thing to be noted is that the vacancies for unreserved and EWS are in proportion to their reservation.
Samajwadi Party leader Swamy Prasad Maurya took to X to raise the issue, saying, “The reservation scam has again taken place in Ram Rajya. The BJP government is continuously attacking the reservation of SC/ST/OBC, and the SC/ST/OBC leaders belonging to BJP are acting like Dhritarashtra (who was blind).”
Many analysts believe that the BJP derives the impunity in gross violation of reservation norms by playing the religion card, which unites the Hindu community in the times of elections.