PATNA: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat's remark, that the question of reservation must be debated between those in favour and those against, has triggered widespread protest among the opposition parties in Bihar.
Bihar opposition leaders are hell-bent to use the issue to consolidate their lost ground in caste ridden state politics ahead of next year's assembly polls.
What is interesting this time that even the ruling BJP's ally JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is siding with opposition on the issue of reservation.
Senior JD(U) leader and a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government Shayam Rajak has expressed strong reservation over Bhagwat's comments.
"RSS should not touch the issue of reservation as it would divide the society and the country", Rajak, a Dalit leader said.
Bhagwat's remark gives fodder to opposition parties like RJD, Congress, HAM, RLSP and Left parties to raise the issue to counter the NDA government in the state.
Nearly four years ago in 2015, Bharwat's statement to review reservation had cost the BJP dearly in Bihar assembly polls.
Sensing it as powerful political ammunirion, opposition leaders have already started attacking RSS chief and its political front BJP.
RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha party chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya have not only questioned RSS chief's statement, but have also targeted RSS and the BJP, saying they want to end reservation.
Tejashwi said that Bhagwat's statement about debate on the reservation was suspicious.
He said debate and dialogue should be held on why 80 per cent central government jobs under reservation quota are vacant and why there is not a single secretary-level officer from OBC and EBC.
He further said why there is not a single chancellor from OBC and Dalits. "We want dialogue and debate on these issues".
Manjhi said reservation is right of the marginalized and deprived people. It was given by the Constitution of India. He has cautioned BJP not to play with the issue.
HAM's spokesman Vijay Yadav warned that any move to end the reservation will bring people on the streets.
"Thousands of people will sacrifice their lives to save reservation and people will not sit silent if BJP-led Central government will try to end reservation", he said.
Bhattacharya said after Triple Talaq, Article 370, RSS is now eying to target reservation.
"First RSS chief in a coded word favoured review of reservation and now he wants a debate on it."
Bhattacharya said RSS's motive is to end reservation but we will not allow it to happen.
The CPI(M) leader Manoj Kumar recalled that during last Bihar assembly elections in 2015, RSS chief Bhagwat's demand to review reservation for Dalits and OBCs, resulted in polarization against the BJP-led NDA in the state.
He said then RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his ally Nitish Kumar had played RSS chief's statement on the reservation in such a way that resulted in a humiliating defeat for the BJP.