The BJP on Wednesday questioned the agreement reached between the Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel over reservation for the Patel community, saying the two are deceiving each other over what is legally untenable. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the “Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception”. “The Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception. Legally and constitutionally that (breaching the 50 per cent cap on reservation) is not possible as the law stands today,” Mr Jaitley said. He said that in elections, only promises which can be implemented should be made to each other and the public. Mr Jaitley said the law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in its verdict in the Mandal Commission case ruled that the total reservation for SC/ST and other backward classes or special categories should not exceed 50 per cent. Referring to the failed bid for awarding quota to Gujjars in Rajasthan, he said the judiciary has re-affirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be increased. “So let them continue to deceive each other and deceive the public by saying that they will device a methodology to breach the gap,” he said. He said that by citing Article 31 C of the Constitution, one can claim that reservation can be put in the IXth Schedule. But, he cautioned, that the entry in the IXth Schedule is also subject to judicial review and can be struck down.
Responding to a question on “chaiwala” meme aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Youth Congress, Mr Jaitley said it is the strength of the Indian democracy which allowed a person from a humble background defeat the “mightiest; those who do politics in the name of family and dynasty”. “There is no big or small family in democracy today. If Congress has not learnt this lesson, it will never learn it,” he said.