As the amendment to provide for reservation to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in promotion in government service gets ready to be passed in Parliament, the agenda of different political parties is palpable. While the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are going all out to ensure that their constituencies are satisfied that the parties are championing their cause, the Congress has turned a blind eye to the fate of the bill.
What should really be a matter of concern is the divide such politics is creating between people. Had the reservation policy been enforced equitably in the last 60 years, quotas could have been phased out by now.
That our politicians can do anything to retain their vote banks is unfortunate. Reservation for the SCs and the STs was meant to last for 10 years, but it has been in existence for more than six decades and no one knows how long it will continue.
Promotions can be given only on the basis of merit. It will be disastrous if the Constitution is amended to provide for quota-based promotions. Students belonging to all categories work equally hard to study and land a government job, and they will never forgive politicians like Mayawati who are promoting the idea of reservation in promotion.
Whatever the UPA government’s political compulsions to adopt tactical moves to buy time to choose between two friends who are sworn political enemies, promotion for the SCs and the STs can have far-reaching political consequences.
Any quick-fix move to amend the Constitution without giving a serious thought to what Mulayam Singh rightly calls the “heart burns” of those who are angered over the idea of quota-based promotions for the SCs and the STs will boomerang on future ruling dispensations since no party, except perhaps the BSP, can ignore the sentiments of other caste employees and the vote banks they constitute.