February 7, 2017 6:02:03 am
With its back against the wall in UP assembly polls, Ajit Singh’s RLD on Monday reached out to Extremely Backward Castes promising them quota under the Karpoori formula and also wooed Jats and Gujjars among Muslim by promising OBC reservation to them without any religious discrimination.
The party’s manifesto, which was released on Monday, said: “To take forward the fight of social justice for the deprived, weaker sections the backward in the society taken up by Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar and Chaudhary Charan Singh, the extremely backward castes will be classified and provided reservation under the Karpoori Thakur formula. Without any religious discrimination OBC reservation benefit will be given to Mulla Jat and Mulla Gujjar. OBC and Scheduled Castes will be provided reservation for in all judicial services.”
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Under the Karpoori Thakur formula, which Bihar adopted in 1978, reservation was given under sub-quota for the most backward classes (MBCs). The fortunes of Singh’s party nosedived in 2014 Lok Sabha polls with BJP consolidating its base among his traditional votebank of Jats and Muslims voters moving away from the RLD due to 2013 riots. “The social equations that had ruptured then (2013 riots) are now over. People in general are angry with the BJP,” said Singh.
Asked about his future course in the case of a hung verdict which RLD believes will be there, Singh said, “We will look at the mandate and then decide. But one thing is clear we will not be with the BJP in forming any government.”
There is a feeling in the RLD that the Jats, who had strongly backed the BJP in Lok Sabha polls, are returning to its fold due to identity politics and also the issue of reservation.
In the manifesto, the party promised loan waiver and minimum monthly income scheme for small farmers, constituting a farmer commission and ensuring that the state records 8 per cent growth in agri-sector, enacting a land leasing law in the interest of farmers ensuring payment of sugarcane due to farmers within fourteen days of coming to power.
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