Agencies, New Delhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today affirmed that continuity of reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes was essential to deal with discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression. The statement was issued here this evening in the wake of widespread protests from the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal-United and the Left after remarks by Congress senior leader Janardhan Dwivedi,suggesting an end to caste based reservation.
Mrs Gandhi noted that it was the Indian National Congress, which in the belief of true equality of opportunity for all, had introduced the system of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Government employment and educational institutions and elected bodies in the early 1950s.
‘It is the Congress that introduced the reservations for the OBCs in Government employment and educational institutions in the mid 1990s and later.
‘ The Congress is of the firm opinion that the system of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs should continue and there should be no doubt or ambiguity on its stand. ‘They were introduced, have been strengthened, and will continue to be championed by the Congress,’ Mrs Gandhi said, terming the empowerment of the SCs, STs and the OBCs as an article of faith with the party.
Mrs Gandhi said that in its 2009 Lok Sabha election manifesto, the Congress had pledged to carve out reservation for all communities without prejudice to the SCs, STs and OBCs.
A dialogue in this regard, she said, has been initiated. In this context, Mrs Gandhi said that the Congress had introduced The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation in Posts and Service) Bill, 2008, to provide a legal framework for ensuring effective implementation of existing reservation, and The Constitution(117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, to provide for reservation in promotions for SCs and STs.