NEW DELHI: It’s not often that the Centre chastises a state on the floor of Parliament when both governments are run by the same party. But that is what happened in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday when the Centre described the UP government’s decision to put 17 OBC communities in the Scheduled Caste basket as unconstitutional, saying only Parliament has the authority to take that call.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot agreed with BSP member S C Mishra, saying the UP order was not proper. But it’s not as if the Yogi government was unaware of its limitations. What it was trying to do was to send a message to the OBCs that the BJP cares for them, however symbolic its announcement may be.
“It is the right of Parliament to decide if communities belonging to SC/ST/OBC are to be shifted from one group to another. The matter had come before Parliament two-three times in the past but there was no agreement,” said Gehlot.
The Yogi government’s decision is bound to benefit the BJP in the upcoming electoral battles as it will strip regional satraps of their clout. While it will consolidate the BJP’s position among the backwards, it will at the same time blunt the perpetual attack mounted by former ally O P Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, as he had made a similar demand in the past. The BJP hopes the move would help draw the OBCs further away from other political players like SP and BSP.