Genocide in Gaza

The opposition alliance, better known as INDIA, is yet to take the shape of a united platform with a common political approach against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]. Surprisingly, Congress these days is talking loudly about deprivation of OBC people much to the amusement of the so-called OBC parties. One of the Mandalite outfits, namely Samajwadi Party [SP] found in Congress Party’s volte-face ‘a miracle’. Congress Party’s support to the demand of OBC quota in Women’s Reservation Bill and their declaration that they would conduct caste census if come to power, was somewhat unexpected even a year ago. Some regional parties that depend solely on caste polarisation in electoral politics in Bihar and UP, more precisely in north India, look worried about the grand old party’s changed stance on the ‘quota within quota’ syndrome. They see in the Congress move a ploy to cut their traditional vote bank which was once the exclusive domain of Congress. But there is nothing wrong in Congress reaching out to OBCs, Dalits and Muslims. Better late than never! Right now both Congress and SP are seriously engaged in seat sharing arrangement in the upcoming assembly election in Madhya Pradesh. As they are the prominent members of INDIA; it is likely that they will be able to clinch a deal. In truth INDIA is still an electoral alliance of convenience. It is unlikely to become an ideological challenge to the BJP. With 28 organisations having diverse political inclination INDIA is no answer to the current BJP-RSS onslaught. They passed the Women’s Reservation Bill in both houses of parliament without seriously raising the issue of OBC quota. On earlier two occasions Women’s Reservation Bill faced stiff opposition from the Mandalites. But this time they agreed not to disagree on the spirit of the Bill despite the non-inclusion of OBC clause. While addressing a public rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party—Bharatiya Janata Party--for ignoring OBC quota in Women’s Reservation Bill. But they didn’t seriously pursue the issue in parliamentary debate and allowed the Bill to get passed without any rider. If everything goes according to plan the women’s reservation in Parliament and state legislatures would take at least 10 years to be implemented because women will get their rights only after a survey and delimitation process is completed. So no party—pro-quota or anti-quota—is affected in the coming 2024 parliamentary polls; it is business as usual even after the passage of the Bill. Then delimitation programme will have to face road-blocks in southern states. The reason is simple: there is every possibility that the north India will dominate south India in absolute numbers in terms people’s representation in parliament after delimitation.

 In parliament Mr Gandhi wanted to know ‘why there are only three OBC officers amongst 90 top bureaucrats who run the Modi government’. The number of high ranking officers in the administration doesn’t make any difference in the abysmal conditions the backward community people are being forced to live in. Mr Gandhi in the same meeting accused the RSS of running the central government with the sole aim of diverting public attention from the real issues. He, however, remained silent about the ‘real issues’. They cannot fight BJP’s economic agenda which is the root cause of distress for the downtrodden belonging to OBC, Dalit and Muslim communities because Modi is implementing the economic blue-print scripted by the Congress government in the yesteryears. Mere reservation of a few women in legislatures is not going to alter the fate of poor women who are being doubly oppressed in Indian society. What is needed is a powerful women’s movement which is not on the horizon. Then Congress party is in no position to fight RSS ideologically. After all they also need upper caste Hindu votes. For all practical purposes they are in the process of repackaging their caste-based constituencies.

The BJP was in a hurry to have the women’s reservation bill passed to derive political mileage in the Lok Sabha poll campaign. By promising amendments in future Union Home Minister Amit Shah succeeded to build consensus on the Bill, notwithstanding some differences. Opposition to the Bill at this stage would be counterproductive in vote market as it would allow BJP to gain populism. So all fell in line.


Back to Home Page

Vol 56, No. 21, Nov 19 - 25, 2023