CHENNAI: When Congress MLA S John Jacob raised the issue of quota for Dalit Christians in the State Assembly on Wednesday, little did he realise that he would end up uniting the treasury and opposition benches against his party. Jacob and his colleague JG Prince found themselves cornered by the ruling party and the opposition parties on why the Union government was dragging its feet on the issue. Speaking on the Demand for Grants to the Backward, Most Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Department, Jacob brought up the need for reservation for Dalit Christians. Immediately a point of order was raised by several members.
Stating that his party welcomed the demand, CPI (M) member A Soundararajan wanted to know why the Centre was dilly dallying on the issue. CK Tamizharasan (Republican Party of India) pointed out that the Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations were made many years ago. Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) member MH Jawahirullah said the Congress during the 2004 elections announced that a commission would be constituted to go into the issue of reservation for religious minorities.
The Centre did not even table the Mishra Commission’s findings in the Parliament for a long time. Also, the recommendations were not implemented. During the Uttar Pradesh elections, after the Congress staged a drama promising quota for Muslims it had to bite the dust, he said.
JG Prince said that the issue of implementation of reservation was under “Parliamentary process.” Stating that the Congress member had been given false information, Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam wanted to know if a Bill seeking to provide the quota had been tabled in the Parliament. CPI MLA S Gunasekaran said no such Bill was featured. Subsequently, a remark of Prince was expunged as irrelevant to the query posed by the minister. Later, the Congress said the Bill was now before the Standing committee of Parliament.