Bengal Muslim quota tug of war
There is really little more to Indian politics than benefits to rigid groups completely at the mercy of a few formations. We call these formations “benefit protectors”. Benefit protectors come in all shapes and colours. Most are political groups. Some are legal commentators, some hold high positions in government institutions, some are socialites, some run temporary blogs and magazines. Their task is the same, to somehow keep data from entering the social justice equation. They would rather deal with blind anti-reservationists than promoters of real social justice like this blog! No data = no justice. If you dont believe me ask the stone breakers near your locality. No one on TV will admit it or even talk about it in the context of politics. It is our dirty lil Indian secret.
In this backdrop, we have been saying that the Bengal case is a grand anomaly. The communists have kept large swathes of their society out of the quota system. As the no-data-only-adhoc benefit regime is set to explode in all spheres of society, there is deep resentment in Bengal. The communists need to attain benefit-protector status to atleast a few large groups if they wish to stay relevant. 50 years of disciplined cadre building will crumble in a second against the classification of citizens. With the exception of excel spreadsheets, there is no force that can confront it.
It seems the Communists have realized the impending disaster.
While the government has gone slow on the question of land acquisition, it has taken upon the task of getting as many groups of Muslim community as possible in the category of Other Backward Castes (OBCs) so that they have reservation in government jobs.
Seven per cent of government jobs are reserved for the OBCs. At present out of 2.4 crore Muslim population in the state, 11 castes which amount to 2.4 per cent of the population have been declared OBCs.
The government is following the model set by Kerala where more than 99 per cent of the Muslim population are OBCs. In fact, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee advocated the idea for reservation of Muslims about eight years ago when Andhra Pradesh first introduced quota for Muslims in the state.
Source : IE (Emp added)
Not to be beaten in this game, the Congress has come up with this :
Muslims can be backward community only if all states do so
Minority affairs minister Salman Khursheed has said if Muslims are declared a backward community in all states, it would only be a
procedural formality to dub them so at the Centre.
Else, he told TOI the Constitution does not permit reservation to any group beyond SCs, STs and OBCs, rejecting demands that there be reservation for Muslims per se. He said even the Andhra Pradesh policy to give reservation to the community by declaring all of them as backward had been struck down.
The newly-appointed minister was commenting on the fate of Congress promise in the poll manifesto that the party would replicate at national level the policy adopted in Karnataka, Kerala and AP of giving reservation based on social and economic backwardness.
Source : TOI
Now, none of this makes any sense of course. If all muslims in Kerala can have this status, then there is no logical argument you can extend that denies this benefit to Muslims of East Midnapore or Gujarat. Politically, there will be a tug of war now between the CPM and Congress for Muslim quota in Bengal.
Time for another season of ‘Equality Olympics’.
Programming note : The Wife Quota (as the womens quota ought to be called) has the full support of the BJP. The BJP does not even have any amendment to offer. This is their strategy of going along with the Congress. The hope is the pretty media girls in Delhi will take a liking to their new Congress-lite hair style. Wont work ! ! (More on this twisted womens quota in the next post)