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‘Strong Currents Can Uproot Big Trees’: Paswan Says Upper Caste Quota will Help NDA Sweep UP, Bihar


New Delhi: A day after reservation bill was passed by both houses of the Parliament, where he countered opposition’s charges in both the houses, BJP ally and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan told News18 that the reservation for upper caste poor will help NDA sweep UP and Bihar.

“There is going to be a revolt within the RJD when their leaders go to public to ask for votes before the Lok Sabha polls. Jab dhaara tez hoti hai to bada ped bhi beh jaata hai (when the currents are strong, even big trees are swept away),” Paswan told News18.

Using a cricketing metaphor, the Union Minister said that RJD, which is spearheading, through an alliance, the charge against NDA in Bihar “will be out for a duck in Bihar.”

Paswan said many RJD leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Jagdanand Singh come from upper castes and would find it difficult to woo voters from their community.
“RJD will not be able to open its account in Bihar. There is a mood of celebration among various sections of the society. If people are happy, then it will obviously benefit the NDA,” Paswan said, calling the bill historic.

Asked about parties with a mass base among backward communities demanding reservation proportionate to their population, Paswan said, “Why didn’t they then change reservation when they were in power? Those who are saying this today, why did they not vote against the bill?”

On whether he was informed about the decision to introduce constitutional amendments to pave way for introduction of 10 per cent reservation for upper castes, Paswan, while ducking the question, said, “When they know that I support such a move, when they know that I have been the first leader to ask for a 15 per cent reservation for upper caste poor, why would they ask me such a question?”

Talking about the charge levelled by BSP leader, Satish Chandra Mishra, in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, about why Paswan’s party, which was fine with amending the constitution for upper caste poor, did not consider amending the constitution to introduce reservation in promotion, he said, “Let BSP and SP, which have now become opportunist allies, tell me who tore the reservation in promotion bill when it was introduced.”

Paswan was referring to the incident in Lok Sabha back in December 2012 when an SP leader had snatched a bill to introduce reservation in promotion (from a Congress minister) and tore it to pieces, instigating chaos in the house.

Defending the constitutional status of the bill which is yet to be signed by the President, upon which it will become law, Paswan said the Supreme Court had struck down a similar move in 1990s by the PV Narasimha Rao government, saying there was no provision for reservation on economic status and asked for constitutional amendments.

“Now, there has been a constitutional amendment. I do not think the Supreme Court will object to it. Moreover, when we return to power, we will include this reservation in the ninth schedule and then it will be beyond legal challenge,” he said.

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