Seeking to widen its social base beyond the traditional OBCs, the DMK on Tuesday mooted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for all traditional fishermen on the lines of Kerala and Karnataka, and vowed to work for amendments to dispense with ‘creamy layer’ in reservations.
Releasing the party’s Lok Sabha election manifesto here, DMK leader M. Karunanidhi said the party would press for complete free education to SCs and STs up to professional degree courses “without any obstacle.”
In a dash of populism aimed at young voters, the DMK demanded complete waiver of education loans given to students from BCs, MBCs and other poorer sections.
Placing emphasis on enlarging the Mandal agenda, the DMK’s carefully crafted manifesto, focusing on issues of social justice, called for mandatory reservation in the private sector. It also reiterated the need for caste-based census along with the usual census count.
The party promised to press for Constitutional amendments to remove the 50 per cent cap on total reservations and enable each State to fix its respective quota levels in accordance with their population size. “We will also urge the Centre to provide separate reservation for Most Backward Classes (MBCs) at the all India level,” he said.
The DMK reiterated its strong views on range of issues including Tamil being made the court language in the Madras High Court and co-official language in Central government offices, implementing the Sethusamudram project and retrieving Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka. The manifesto also insisted that the terms of reference of Finance Commissions in future should be decided only in the Inter-State council.
On the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, the DMK nuanced the referendum demand among the Tamils in the Island’s North and East “to choose find a permanent political solution.” As an interim measure the Centre should press Sri Lanka to implement the provisions of the 13th Constitutional amendment.