The government clarified that there was no question of replacing the current caste-based reservation system with an economic criteria-based quota regime.

The Congress and the UPA government strongly defended caste-based reservations on Wednesday in response to criticism from its cadre and the Opposition of party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s call to end the quota system.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the caste quota, “introduced” and “strengthened” by her party, would continue to be “championed” by it. The government clarified that there was no question of replacing the current caste-based reservation system with an economic criteria-based quota regime.

“The government is not considering any proposal to provide reservation based on economic criteria. The reservation as it stands today will continue as per constitutional provision,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla told the Rajya Sabha. He made the statement after Bahujan Samaj Party, Samjawadi Party and Janata Dal (United) MPs disrupted the House to protest Mr. Dwivedi’s call.

The statement, however, failed to pacify the angry MPs. In the post-lunch session, BSP members stormed into the well of the House forcing adjournment for the day. Outside Parliament, BSP leader Mayawati refused to accept the claim that Mr. Dwivedi’s remarks were his personal opinion.

LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan asked: “Mr. Dwivedi’s remarks are against the Constitution. This kind of statement will only strengthen the Opposition. We demand the Congress condemn it.”

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