Mudda speakers decry politics over a scheme intended for upliftment

The Mudda of  April 14 coincided with the 127th birthday celebrations of the architect of the Indian constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar, and the topic discussed reservation and how relevant it is in present times. The panellists included Kamlakar Tripathi, spokesperson of the UP Congress; Jagdev Singh Yadav, spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party; Govind Pant Raju, consulting editor, APN; Suraj Bhan Kataria, BJP leader; and Dr Chandra Bhan, Dalit thinker. The show was moderated by Arvind.

Suraj Bhan Kataria started the discussion, saying, “On the occasion of the 127th birthday of Dr BR Ambedkar, the BJP has organised multiple programmes to pay tribute to the legend. The Congress during its 60-year rule in India has done minuscule work for the Dalits. The plans which were mooted by Ambedkar were not implemented by the Congress.”

Kamlakar Tripathi rebutted Kataria with, “The Congress has given greater representation to Dalits during its rule. Under its rule, India witnessed its first Dalit Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, is also a Dalit. Jagjivan Ram was also from the Congress. Mayawati became the first Dalit chief minister. There are other examples.”

The Samajwadi Party also put out its views strongly on the reservation issue. Jagdev Singh Yadav said, “Baba Saheb started reservation to overcome discrimination, backwardness in society. Political parties playing politics in the name of Ambedkar is unfortunate. Some political parties who never even knew about Baba Saheb’s life are now playing politics in his name.”

Govind Pant Raju targetted parties for leveraging the reservation issue to fulfil their political motives, thereby using the Dalits as votebanks and remembering them only at the time of elections. “The basic principle of reservation was to move India forward economically and socially. Now, political parties do politics – like who will end reservation, who will raise more reservation, issues like that.”

On how the problem of reservation should be tackled in the present context, Kataria said, “The reservation policy should be reviewed to see how much Dalits have got from the policy and how much they need in the future.”

Tripathi said, “The reservation policy should be evaluated. All the stakeholders should come together and decide which one should get and which one should not on the basis of haves and havenots. It should be divided by class – affluent and non-affluent. Representation should take precedence over reservation.”

Raju said, “The review of the reservation policy should be done especially to end it. I regard the aversion of the political parties to the review of the reservation policy as against the democratic structure of India. PM Modi should set an example by telling his Dalit ministers to forgo reservation for their near and dear and instead bestow it on other Dalit persons who need it.”

Yadav concluded the discussion by saying, “There should be a survey – how many people are there in the SC/ST category. Then the policies should be decided.”     

Compiled by Punit Mishra