In an attempt to apparently woo the Dalit and Adivasi vote bank for the 2018 Assembly election, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has called for an increase in reservation for Scheduled Castes and Tribes and backward communities.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, he said that the Karnataka government will seek a Constitution amendment to ensure 70% reservation for SC/ST and OBC communities in education and public-sector services. He said that the reservation would be sought on the lines of Tamil Nadu’s model, Deccan Herald reported.
He was addressing the media outside Vidhana Soudha during Valmiki Jayanti before the celebrations were disrupted by heavy rains.
“The Supreme Court has directed that reservation should not exceed 50%. The Tamil Nadu reservation is in contrast to this. It has fixed reservation for these communities at 69%. We will follow that model and seek a Constitutional amendment,” Siddaramaiah told the media.
The Chief Minister said that the government is striving towards obtaining 70% reservation as the members of the SC and ST communities lacked adequate representation in all spheres.
“I am not doing this for the sake of votes. I am doing this to ensure social justice to the communities which have suffered for so long. The Karnataka government had allotted Rs 7,000 crore for the welfare of the SC/STs for the present financial year,” he added.
“The Backward Classes Commission has conducted a socio-economic survey and based on findings of this commission, the government has decided to increase the quota to 70%. Our government has spent Rs 25,000 crore on welfare schemes for SCs and STs,” he added.
He said that Congress leaders in the state would organise a massive SC rally in Ballari district in the first week of December to discuss issues faced by the members of SC and ST community.
How Tamil Nadu has 69% quota
Tamil Nadu is the only state in India which has over 50% reservations in educational institutions, despite the Supreme Court order.
And they managed it back in 1994 by getting the Central government to amend Schedule 9 of the Constitution. Schedule 9 is a list of laws that state governments have brought in that are exempt from any judicial review - which means that Tamil Nadu’s 69% quota for backward classes cannot be challenged by anyone in any court of law in India.
But unlike Tamil Nadu’s case in 1994, Siddharamiah or even Telangana CM KCR who wants to bring 12% reservation for Muslims and STs, do not have an approving government at the Centre.