New Delhi, Sept 11: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the tallest backward faces in the NDA government, has pitched for an upper caste quota in government jobs and educational institutions.
Paswan, who heads the Bihar-based Lok Janshakti Party, said the upper castes should be provided a 15 per cent reservation. His remarks comes days after the Bihar unit of Congress said it is contemplating over a promise to grant 10 per cent reservation to the forward castes if elected to power.
Granting quota for the non-backward communities requires judicial nod, as the Constitution permits reservation for only those castes who are economically, as well as "socially" backward.
The courts had, in recent times, struck down the decisions of Rajasthan and Haryana government granting reservation to Gujjars and Jats, respectively.
In Maharashtra and Gujarat, the state governments face a similar challenge, where the agrarian communities - Marathas and Patels - are agitating for quota in jobs and education.
According to Paswan, however, the judicial scrutiny could be surpassed, provided there is an all-party consensus on the subject. "Tamil Nadu has 69% reservation. If all political parties decide, there is no problem," he said, while speaking to HT.
While voicing for upper caste reservation, Paswan also claimed that the NDA government has defeated the anti-SC/ST charge levelled against them by the Opposition. The Bill which restored Atrocities Act in its original form has "exposed" the political opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Paswan claimed.