Senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela today claimed that the ongoing agitation by the Patel community to get reservation under OBC category is backed by RSS and BJP government in Gujarat.
The former Gujarat Chief Minister also slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat over his statement on the current reservation policy and sought to link his comment with the ongoing agitation by the Patels for OBC tag.
Bhagwat has pitched for a review of the reservation policy, maintaining it has been used for political ends and suggesting setting up of an apolitical committee to examine who needs the facility and for how long.
“I have been telling since the beginning that the agitation by the Patel community is sponsored by the State Government (led by BJP) and supported by RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. All gave their support to this agitation,” claimed Vaghela during an interaction with media at Gandhinagar.
“Now, (amid the Patel stir) Mohan Bhagwatji made a statement that reservation system should be reviewed. This statement reflects their (RSS) ideology. By making such statements, he actually wanted to create a controversy on reservation system,” alleged the Leader of Opposition.
BJP, being a part of the Sangh parivar, has also embraced right-wing ideology, where there is no place for the uplift of Dalits, downtrodden and backward classes, he said.
According to him, reservation system is an attempt to give justice to these sections of society. However, Vaghela admitted the system, put in place after Independence, has not brought much change in the lives of many of these sections.
“Benefits of reservation have not reached to everyone. Even today, SCs/STs are living in miserable condition in villages. Youths from Valmiki community (SC) are engaged in cleaning sewers and manual scavenging still exists.”
In an indirect attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vaghela alleged that BJP played caste card during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. BJP is double-faced. To get power, BJP engaged in vote-bank politics by announcing its leader belongs to a backward caste, said Vaghela in a reference to Modi.
Commenting on the alleged atrocities by police on Patel community during violence after their rally on August 25, Vaghela said the police action was totally uncalled for.
Ten people lost their lives in the violence.
“It is the right of every community to demand reservation. But it is not right to beat them, misbehave with agitating women and arrest them,” added Vaghela.
Ruling BJP and Opposition Congress have been accusing each other of supporting the quota agitation and instigating Patel community members.