Go past the quota rhetoric


The Supreme Court, for the third time, rejected Maharashtra’s plea to permit reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in native physique polls — after scrapping the supply final yr, after which refusing to evaluation its verdict on the problem. The state authorities is now contemplating its choices and has mentioned it’s dedicated to holding the elections solely when seats are put aside for OBCs. That the state government is once more keen to threat a possible conflict with the judiciary ought to be instructive in understanding how essential the problem is politically for the ruling dispensation.

But why? The reply lies within the predictable, if considerably unlucky, proclivity of political events to make use of affirmative motion to paper over cleavages rising from social and financial churn. In Maharashtra, eroding financial and social heft precipitated the agitation by the Marathas for quotas, which, in flip, sparked push again from OBC teams. The authorities presumably sees quotas as a method to stave off OBC discontent over Maratha calls for, and hopes that by freezing their illustration — a quota means a sure variety of OBC members will all the time be elected it doesn’t matter what the political temper – they will not face ire from the communities that make up roughly half the state’s inhabitants.

Reservations have been launched in India as a method to appropriate historic wrongs however now search to be deployed by ease of governments as a cease hole measure to financial ache (domicile quotas in jobs) or reverse perceptions of crumbing dominance (therefore the agitations by Jats, Patels, Gujjars and Marathas, amongst others). As beforehand famous by this newspaper, this not solely yields detached outcomes but in addition dilutes the core philosophy of affirmative motion. Moreover, because the expertise of political reservation for Scheduled Castes reveals, quotas can get extra leaders elected with none actual devolution of powers from the arms of higher caste leaderships of political events. This will not be an argument in opposition to political reservations however a name for wider democratization of political energy. It ought to be instructive that there seems to be political consensus on OBC quotas — the Bharatiya Janata Party authorities in Madhya Pradesh is making an attempt to implement the identical rule — whereas such settlement eludes the demand for counting these communities. Political energy is essential for marginalized communities in charting their very own social, financial and political destinies. They deserve an trustworthy try at democratization of political energy, not simply efforts pushed by electoral concerns.

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