The Narendra Modi led BJP governemnt on Monday announced 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and higher education for economically weaker sections in the general category. This move just months before the general election is seen as last attempt by Modi government to woo back the upper caste voters which seems to be weaning away from them. The defeat in recent assembly elections have definitely jolted government and forced it to take this drastic measure. Upper caste has been traditionally BJP supporter but in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh election they voted for the Congress because of which the saffron party lost the elections in three Hindi heartland states. The government is now trying to appease them by offering 10 per cent reservation.
The move also suggests that the BJP has more or less given up on the Dalits and backward classes and concluded from the recent poll results in the three heartland states that something must be done to check the erosion of its core base of upper caste voters because of economic reasons such as demonetisation and GST. In the immediate aftermath, most parties welcomed the proposal because they do not want to be seemed as anti- upper caste. But it is to be seen whether the economic quota would stand the test of judicial scrutiny as the Supreme Court has said total reservation cannot cross 50 per cent. Besides, the Constitution now allows reservation on the basis of social and educational – but not economic – backwardness. The BJP thinks that this move will be game changer for them in 2019 election but only time will tell whether they are right or wrong?