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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Politicians show rare unity to pass 127th Constitution amendment bill and safeguard state OBC lists

The 127th constitutional amendment safeguarding OBC (Other Backward classes) reservations was passed unanimously by the parliament in a rare show of unity with opposition backing the government in an otherwise turbulent monsoon session of the parliament.

The bill aims to restore the power of Union Territories (UT) and states to make their own OBC lists. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment) Bill 2021 was cleared by the Union Cabinet last week and by the parliament on 10 August.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) Mallikarjun Kharge speaking to the media said “In the interest of the community and the country, leaders of all Opposition parties will support this bill which gives states the right to make additions to the OBC list. We want due discussion before the bill is passed on the floor of the house”.

“Other issues are a different matter altogether, but we are ready to get this bill passed” reiterating the point that the support was limited to this bill alone. This indicates how OBC reservations are as important as minority appeasement in the country’s vote bank politics. MPs (Members of Parliament) from 15 opposition parties including Congress, DMK, TMC, NCP, Shiv Sena, SP, CPM, RJD, AAP, CPI, and NC among others arrived at the decision after the meeting held in the chambers of LoP Mallikarjun Kharge.

The amendment comes after a May 5 ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) that vested the power to identify the OBC list solely with the center. SC also dismissed the central government’s appeal to review the verdict. The opposition had then accused the central government of striking at the federal structure by snatching the rights of the states to identify and list OBCs.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar informed Rajya Sabha that the government was consulting with legal experts and the Law Ministry to ensure that the authority of the states to determine the list of OBCs is retained with the states. Accordingly, the 127th amendment was brought into effect that specifically authorizes the states to maintain their OBC lists.

In essence, parties that are in power in states attempt to squeeze in as many castes as they can in the OBC list out of narrow political considerations. Furthermore, reservations and vote bank politics go hand-in-hand as OBC quotas are being heavily abused to provide reservations for Muslim and Christian converts thereby causing some exasperated Hindus to convert out of the religion just to draw OBC status and job benefits. The amendment is thus another shot in the arm for the conversion mafia.

Such is the tragic situation in the country that political parties disagree on almost everything, including even the definition of nationalism and national interest, but everyone agrees on quota politics and minority appeasement. The former ensures Hindu polity remains divided and fractured, and the latter ensures that minority victimhood and exceptionalism both have become mainstream.

Vote bank and reservation politics seems to trump national interests cutting across party lines and in the final analysis it is the majority Hindus who stand to lose.

(Featured Image Source: First Post)

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