BJP mum as Munde seeks caste quota in private sector
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In what is likely to bring the issue of caste in the BJP to the fore, party general secretary Gopinath Munde has demanded quotas for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the private sector. "Government jobs are shrinking, so it's high time that we earmarked quotas for SCs and STs in the private sector," he told The Indian Express.
The BJP says it has taken "no view" on the matter, adding that any such move must be taken after evolving a consensus on the issue. "There should be a balance between merit and equity and the onus lies on the Government to evolve a consensus on the issue," said party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Munde, who had recently revolted against the party high command to gain an upper hand in the Maharashtra BJP, said the quotas must also be extended to private universities. "If the industry is not willing to accept them (SC / ST work force), the Government must enact a law to that effect. Also, we cannot ignore the poor and the underprivileged in our universities and technical colleges," he said.
On the opposition from industry captains, who instead favour other forms of affirmative action, he said there was hardly an alternative. "Do they want to say that only upper castes are meritorious? The quotas in private colleges and universities will ensure that engineers and MBAs from the SC / ST communities fill the demand and supply gap in the industry," he added.
Munde belongs to an OBC community and had recently stressed on the need for the BJP acquiring a "Bahujan character". Another party general secretary, Vinay Katiyar, had recently demanded OBC quotas in the Women's Reservation Bill, only to be snubbed by the party leadership.
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