Bihar polls: Shah slugs out Opp’s anti-quota accusation

RSTV Bureau
Patna: BJP National  President Amit Shah with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and HAM(S) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi at NDA meeting in Patna. Photo - PTI

Patna: BJP National President Amit Shah with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and HAM(S) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi at NDA meeting in Patna.
Photo – PTI

Facing continuous attack on the issue of reservation, BJP president Amit Shah claimed that his party, which is ruling at the Centre with an absolute majority, is “committed” to the existing quota policy for the OBCs and SC/STs. BJP has been facing criticism ever since RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat sought a “review” on the existing quota policy. The issue has become one of the oft-discussed campaign talks of Bihar assembly polls where the BJP is a prime challenger to Nitish Kumar-led ‘Grand Alliance’.

Incumbent CM Nitish Kumar and his ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Congress party, has alleged to an extent that BJP may scrap reservation policy altogether if voted to power.

“BJP does not favour any change in the reservation policy, rather it supports the existing quota policy. We are committed to keeping inviolable these constitutional rights given to the dalit, tribals, backwards and others,” BJP chief Amit Shah told the press in Patna.

Mr. Shah even clarified that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have repeatedly said the existing quota policy was there to stay and the BJP has no intention to change it. In the same breath, the BJP president also denied that the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had ever demanded review of reservation policy.

Lalu-n-NitishAccusing Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his ally Lalu Prasad, Amit Shah said the duo was “trying to turn Bihar Assembly election into a a battle between backward castes and upper castes” adding that BJP has “made a poor man’s son the Prime Minister”.

“We are seeking votes for the BJP-led coalition in the state so that the next state government should function in tandem with the Centre and take forward development works to the logical end,” he said emphasising BJP-led NDA’s bid to make development the central issue in Bihar polls.

Attacking Nitish Kumar, he claimed that over the past two years, criminal activities have increased alarmingly and development activities have come to a grinding halt in Bihar.

“Despite tall claims being made by Kumar, the fact remains that the people of Bihar have to still go outside for education, medical treatment and employment,” he added.

On the recent issues of Dadri mob lynching and murder of rationalist thinkers like MM Kalburgi and several eminent writers returning Sahitya AKademi awards or resigning from its posts in protest against the “atmosphere of intolerance”, Mr. Shah said BJP has no role in either of the incidents. He in turn accused the respective state governments claiming they have failed in maintaining the law and order.

The BJP chief also criticised the leaders of Nitish-led ‘Grand Alliance’ for harping on controversial issues like beef and reservation, adding they are seeking votes on casteist and communal issues and not on development agenda.

On the recent reports of cancellation of rallies where PM Narendra Modi was scheduled to speak, the BJP national president said that the Prime Minister will address 22 rallies in the remaining three phases in Bihar.

(With inputs from the PTI)