To expand base, BJP pushes for Dalit sub-quota
Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 06, 2010First Published: 23:30 IST(6/8/2010)
Last Updated: 23:33 IST(6/8/2010)
In an attempt to widen its support base, the BJP has officially
decided to back Dalit sub-quota politics to divide the Dalit vote and
lay claim to the least developed sections of Dalits. BJP president
Nitin Gadkari wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday
demanding a constitutional amendment to enable the splitting of the
Scheduled Caste (SC) quota so as to make it possible for the Madiga
caste in Andhra to get the benefit of an SC sub-quota.
The Madigas have been agitating for an SC sub-quota — also recommended
by the Usha Mehra Commission two years back — on the ground that they
cannot compete with the more advanced Mala caste within a common SC
The letter has another political motive too.
The Madigas are concentrated in Telangana while the Malas are mainly
found in coastal Andhra, and the BJP sees a chance to further its
support base in Telangana to get a foothold in a state where the
Congress has been declining after the death of Y.S. Rajashekhara
The Chandrababu Naidu government had actually split the state's SC
quota, but the apex court struck this down saying that as per the
constitution SCs cannot be sub-divided.
"For ages there has been a feeling among the Madigas who constitute a
majority of the SCs in Andhra that they continue to be deprived of the
benefits of reservations simply because they are far less empowered
than other groups among the SCs," Gadkari wrote.
The BJP's plan to expand its support among more advanced Dalit castes
is not easy, as they sometimes view it as an upper caste party.
Rajnath Singh had tried to carve out SC sub-quota as Chief Minister in
UP to create a Jatav (BSP supporter)-non-Jatav divide, but this didn't
happen. The Congress, too, had introduced a sub-quota in Punjab in
the 1970s to consolidate its support among Mazhabi Sikhs.
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