The Congress MP further said that the current version of the women’s reservation bill was an effort by the ruling party to deflect attention away from the need for a caste census. Rahul Gandhi, a member of Congress, expressed regret on Friday over the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) administration’s decision to omit an OBC quota from the women’s reservation bill that was introduced to Parliament in 2010.
At the time, the law had not been enacted by the Lok Sabha due to the non-inclusion of the sub quota, a demand made by groups like the RJD and the SP. At a news conference held at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, Gandhi acknowledged that if the sub-quota had been included in the UPA-drafted bill, the women’s reservation policy would have been in place years ago. “100 percent…(we have) 100 percent regret. We should’ve done it then and we will make sure this happens,” he said, in response to a question on the same. However, Gandhi also alleged that the women’s reservation bill in its present form was an attempt by the current dispensation to divert attention from the demand for a caste census.
“…when we read the fine print, we found something very interesting. Two little subtexts were there. Number 1, this will be done after delimitation. Number 2, this will be done after the census. What it means is this bill will be implemented a decade from now…This is a diversionary tactic. It is a way of moving everyone’s attention away. Question is, what are they moving everyone’s attention away from? And the answer is the caste census,” Rahul Gandhi stated.
Only three of the 90 officers at the secretary level, according to the Congress MP, were members of the OBC. Furthermore, he said that just 5% of approved budgets are within the authority of these OBC officers. “Are the OBCs five per cent of India? Is that the amount of participation we want from the OBCs? So a central question is, how many OBCs are there in India? How many different communities are there in India? If we want to distribute power, we have to know this number,” he mentioned.
Rahul Gandhi further stated that the caste census data would be made public if the Congress were to win the election. “The BJP’s answer was that it doesn’t matter how many OBCs are there in the government of India. What matters is that there are MPs and MLAs who are OBC…You can ask any MP or any MLA how much they participate in lawmaking. They will tell you there’s no participation,” he stated. “It’s almost as if they keep placing these OBC MPs on one side and taking away the real power of the OBCs from the other side,” Gandhi added.