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Mayawati takes on Centre over withdrawing reservations

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
February 18, 2009 15:43 IST
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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati has once again decided to take on the central government by the horns.

Vehemently opposing the Union government's move to withdraw the reservation facility for higher positions in select elite educational institutions , the fiery dalit leader on Wednesday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , urging him to stall a bill , proposed to be tabled before the national parliament in this regard on Thursday.

"I fail to understand what is the objective of the UPA government behind such a move which simply seems to convey that members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes do not deserve to hold senior positions in 47 central government run institutes across the country," Mayawati told a press conference in Lucknow.

Prominent among these were the Indian Institutes of Management, Indian Institutes of Technology, National Institutes of Technology, the Aligarh Muslim Universtiy, Benaras Hindu University, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Chandigarh, besides others.

The proposed enactment would do away with the practice of reservations on all posts at the class I level-in case of educational institutions at the post of readers, professors.

"I have just faxed a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking immediate withdrawal of this bill," the UP chief minister said.

"If the Centre fails to do so, then the Congress party and its United Progressive Alliance allies will have to pay its price at the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,"  the BSP supremo warned.

Accusing the Congress of being "anti-dalit" right from the beginning and attributing the provision for reservations in jobs solely to her party's icon Babasaheb Ambedkar , Mayawati wondered , "Why such a move had been initiated to withdraw a facility that had prevailed for 61 years since independence?"

She has also appealed to all other political parties to intervene in the matter and "disallow the center from enacting a law that would only harm the interest of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes across the country."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow