Bihar’s two top Dalit leaders hail 10% quota for poor in upper castes

As the Union Cabinet on Monday approved 10 per cent reservation for economically backward upper castes in jobs and educational institutions, Bihar’s two Dalits leaders welcomed it, while two OBCs leaders questioned the proposal.

The Central government is likely to introduce a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament on Tuesday to push for 10 per cent extra reservation for economically-deprived sections among general categories.

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, and Hindustani Awam Morcha president and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi welcomed the 10 per cent reservation for poor upper caste members. Both Paswan and Manjhi said that they had also pushed for reservation to the upper caste poor.

Going a step further, Manjhi said they should be given 15 per cent reservation instead of just 10 per cent.

Paswan’s LJP is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), while Manjhi’s HAM is an ally of the RJD-Congress Grand Alliance in the state.

On the other hand, Bihar Opposition leader Tehashwi Yadav, the younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, has opposed the reservation for poor upper caste members, saying this is constitutional.

“There is no provision for such a reservation in the Constitution,” he said.

RJD’s new ally Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha also termed the latest decision as another “jumla” and demanded to make public caste census.