Paswan advocates quota for poor among upper castes
LUCKNOW, JULY 22. The Lok Janshakti Party president and Union Telecommunication Minister, Mr. Ramvilas Paswan, today said his party would lend full support to the Centre if it proposed a Constitutional amendment to provide reservation to the poor among upper castes.
Addressing a press conference here after releasing a commemorative postal stamp on freedom fighter Jhalkari Bai, Mr. Paswan said his party had already advocated the need for such a step. He, however, made it clear that the Uttar Pradesh Government's move to provide reservation to the Most Backward Classes did not require a Constitutional amendment as it was related to quota within existing reservation.
Mr. Paswan demanded setting up of a national commission to ascertain exact status and population of all the beneficiaries of reservation. The work could be handed over to the Backward Classes Commission, he added. The Union Minister hinted that his party might contest the coming Assembly elections outside the NDA platform.
``We have already announced to contest the elections under the banner of the NDA in UP but it would be pre-mature to say anything so early,'' he said adding that his party might not join hands with the alliance partners at the hustings as was done by a couple of NDA partners in the past assembly elections in some States.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh, who was the chief guest at the function, announced that from the next academic session, textbooks will contain the history of Jhalkari Bai, the `Senapati' of Rani Laxmi Bai during the 1857 movement against British rule.
The Chief Minister said two life-size statues of Jhalkari Bai would be erected in the state capital.
About LJP's preparation for the coming Assembly elections in the State, Mr. Paswan said ``our party has stepped up the mass awareness programme at the block level.''
He said the party would stake claim for the constituency where it had at least 25,000 members.
Mr. Paswan expressed the hope that his party would emerge as one of the strongest political outfits as the elections drew nearer. He said the party workers would hold `dharnas' at the district and State capital levels on August 1 and 9 respectively to press for their nine-point charter of demands, including provision of the right to work, education and health for every citizen in the country.
Earlier addressing the function, Mr. Paswan said the caste-based society was derailing the development in UP and Bihar where people were more concerned about caste, religion and creed instead of development.