Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Was BJP Government in Uttarakhand hostile to SC/ST categories?

Written by Anil Singh

Before coming to the point; let I share with you some facts which led to the creation of Uttarakhand. The facts are more sociological than political; but have serious bearing on the politics of the state.

The movement for the creation of Uttarakhand, started under the banner of Uttarakhand Kranti Dal in late sixties. The agitation, the intensity of which was significantly fueled by BJP from 1995 onwards; finally led to the creation of the state by BJP in 2000.

An important question, which will be of interest to any sociology student, was why BJP created Uttarakhand? One of the answers put forward, is the caste constitution of the Uttarakhand region, of the erstwhile Uttar pradesh. This region, mostly hilly, had most of its population belonging to "Upper Castes". Since BJP sees upper castes as its vote bank, hence creating Uttarakhand was advantageous for it. Add to this the inclination of a section of Armed forces population in the state; and BJP saw an opportunity to make a Government in Uttarakhand.

In short, the very conception of Uttarakhand (earlier Uttaranchal), was on the premise that even if BJP, exclusivily lures "upper castes" and Business community, traditionally seen as its votaebank; it can muster comfortable majority in the state. In the past one decade, BJP worked on this line.

Hence, if anyone, be it Congress, BSP or SP, or UKD; accuses BJP of putting obstacles in the path of of development of SC/STs, OBCs and minorities in Uttarakhand; then 'social factors which have their bearing on the politics in the state' support such a claim.

Now, let I come to the point of today's article.

In a rally in Almora today, at one point during her speech, Sonia Gandhi accused BJP of working against the good of SC/STs of the state.

This accusation of Congress may have much truth.

Rather than, going on and on, let I give you an example, to support why this can indeed be true.

In December 2011, that's last month, just over a month of Uttarakhand Assembly elections, BJP government in Uttarakhand, fixed the minimum percentage of marks required to Qualify in the written entrance examination for Uttarakhand Samuh Ga or Group C Direct Recruitment.

Under the new Government Order, General and OBC candidates will have to secure minimum 45 percent marks in the entrance examination; to be eligible for the merit list of the successful candidates. The same GO, made minimum percentage for SC/ST candidates to 35 percent.

In simple, a candidate securing less than 45 percent marks (General/OBC categories) and less than 35 percent marks(SC/ST category) in the written entrance examination for Uttarakhand Samuh Ga or Group C Direct Recruitment; will NOT QUALIFY even if there are vacancies available ( unless a candidate secures the minimum required marks for his/her category; he/she will not qualify, even when there are vacancies).

The changes were implemented with immediate effect.

The Governemnt Order had a serious bearing on the employment prospects of the SC/STs in the state. Prior to this Uttarakhand Government Order, an SC/ST candidate passes or qualifies the written entrance examination for Uttarakhand Samuh Ga or Group C Direct Recruitment, even when he/she secures less than 35 percent marks. The only condition required is the merit list range for SC/ST categories should encompass that percentage. That's if an SC candidate secures 15 percent marks in the examination and the merit List range for SC category is 14-55 percent, then such a candidate will be qualified.

But with the new GO, SC/ST candidates will have to secure minimum 35 percent marks in the examination to qualify.

The Government of India, that is the Government at Delhi, has no minimum marks condition for SC/STs. So what it means, if the Uttarakhand Government puts into force one such provision?

The consequence is plain and simple: SC/ST candidates, who often fail to secure that much in such examinations, will not be able to secure the minimum marks limit and the seats thus left vacant will go to "General or Upper Caste" candidates. The "General or Upper Caste" which is traditionally seen by BJP, as its vote bank.

On a few other instances, BJP appeared to not only failing to implement pro SC/ST policies in the state; but always kept inventing ways to divert privileges given to SC/STs to its traditional vote bank, the "upper castes". It's very similar to Gujarat, where the CM says he doesn't do anything special for any religion; hence will not do anything special for Muslims, even in those areas, where Constitution provides for special treatment.

Thus, it can be said that Not every accusation made during election speeches is baseless; Congress president's accusation in the context of SC/STs is not baseless as well. Hence should not be swept under carpet as rhetoric.

But, good thing is BJP knows this intrinsically and knows very well that it can't win votes of people it has neglected so far. For the same reason, the rumors are rife that BJP is already trying to woe BSP to its side, as an exigency measure in case of a hung verdict.


Call it God's unique ways, but the delimitation has suddenly made SC/ST category population in the state, a deciding factor for any party aiming to form a Government. It'll be interesting to see, from a sociological point of view; how BJP, an exclusive party (one who doesn't care for minority and category votes) tides over, a political battle, where it (BJP) is NOT the sole recipient of the affections of "Upper Castes", business community and Army population.

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