Top JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwary on Sunday flayed JD(U)-BJP government in Bihar for constituting an Upper Caste Commission, saying the upper castes poor should not get any quota benefits and a good economy was sufficient to rescue them from poverty.
“I don’t think they (upper castes) should be given any reservation benefit which are strictly made for the Backward classes and Dalits,” said Mr. Tiwary, who is general secretary and national spokesperson of JD(U).
He criticised the decision of the NDA government in Bihar to constitute the Upper Castes Commission to look into the grievances of poor amongst the upper castes and taking steps for their socio-economic empowerment including reservation if necessary.
“This (formation of the commission) is just an unnecessary and useless step, I don’t know why it has been done but I strongly oppose any move to grant them (upper classes) any quota benefit in the country,” he said.
“Since ages, they (upper caste) have oppressed the lower strata people, discriminated against them and deprived them of their due rights. How and what sense does it make for anyone to explore the idea of granting reservation to them or even forming the commission,” he said.
“Yes, there is some problem of poverty among the upper castes too, it will be cured automatically when the economic development of country will speed up, no need to make commissions and granting quota for this,” Mr. Tiwary said.
The remarks come even as his party colleague and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is trying hard to bring the upper castes into his fold to prepare for a situation when his party might not be allied with the BJP.
Even opposition parties had promised 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the poor amongst the upper castes if voted to power.
Mr. Tiwary’s remarks might not go well with JD(U) ally BJP which counts heavily on upper caste voters especially in Bihar.
It has been two years since the formation of the upper caste commission, but the body has not come up with any concrete recommendation, and until recently, didn’t even have an office.
Accepting the prevalence of caste in Bihar even today, Mr. Tiwary said, “We don’t make tall claims of having eradicated the ‘caste’ and breaking the caste cauldron but yes, there has been tremendous change and our social justice mechanism has grown from strength to strength.”