NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday launched an attack on the Narendra Modi-led government for taking away the powers of states to identify and notify the Other Backward Classes (OBC), saying it is trying to give a “terrific spin” to fool the people.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “The government is trying to give a “terrific spin” to fool the people of India by congratulating the BJP-led government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for passing constitutional amendment to create a constitutional level Commission for Backward Classes.”
He said that the government on August 11, 2018 passed a constitutional amendment with the full support of the opposition.
“That constitutional amendment gave and created an OBC Commission at the national level, no problem, but, in the debate something very interesting happened. Speaker after speaker, the names are published in the debate of the parliament and opposition said that we are the ones who want this, we are the ones who are supporting it, make sure that by chance, by inadvertence, by mistake, by overlooking, it does not happen that the established power of the state, at the state level, to recommend names for inclusion, but, to include names and make their own state list, so the state will have its own state list of OBCs that should not go away,” he said.
He said that those are clear apprehensions in black and white in debate, in parliament.
“Then Union Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, several BJP members, including then MP and now Minister Bhupender Yadav agreed, as everybody in the house agreed that it is not the intention to take away the state’s right,” he said.
“But due to lack of attention to detail, your lack of care to detail, you did not add a two line clarification that the creation of a national Commission does not mean that the states will not have its list of inclusion or exclusion at the state level,” he said.
He asked that at the state level how can that power go?
The Congress Rajya Sabha member said that now, “unfortunately” your blunder is costing the country dear, your creation of a national Commission has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the recent 3-2 judgment that in absence of clarification only at the highest states can recommend, but, the list will be one list, not state level list.
“Is it not a very serious assault on the fundamentals of federalism? It cuts at the root, because, nobody is disputing that the states always had the power,” Singhvi said.
He said that the government should have put that clarification today, now this adds further insult to injury.
The BJP leaders had been lauding PM Modi for the recent increase in the All India Medical education quota for the OBCs.
He also said that as he was coming for the conference which is pre-announced, “I hear that the BJP has had a pre-emptive press conference congratulating the BJP government and the Prime Minister for doing so much for backward classes”.
Slamming the government, the Congress leader said, “You are misleading the people of this country. You are making the people of this country believe otherwise by pure spin and not very good spin.”
“Do not live in a false sense of ego. Do not befool the people with self congratulatory press conferences, which are comic, because they are actually hiding a blunder, so, you are congratulating for what, I don’t know, short point is that you bungled the amendment which is now used and interpreted to suggest that states have lost a vital power, which is at the bedrock of federalism,” he added. — IANS