Gai pe charcha: Modi, Lalu lock horns

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PATNA

Days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pitched for a review of the reservation policy and later backtracked, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad on Thursday questioned PM Narendra Modi’s silence on the issue.

“Why are you silent on the reservation policy? If you support Bhagwat’s views, say so or else throw him out,” Lalu dared the PM while addressing a joint press conference of the Mahagathbandhan here.

Flanked by state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and JD(U) MP Pavan Kumar Varma, the RJD chief said, if Modi doesn’t support quotas, he is a “nakli” (fake) backward. Lalu said reservation in all government jobs and educational institutions should be in proportion to the population of dalits and OBCs. “When we are looking for an increase in reservation percentage, the RSS is conspiring to end it. We will not allow any party to end quota.”

“PM Modi, BJP and RSS,” Lalu said “are infamous for anti-dalit and anti-ST policies and decisions. The subjugation and annihilation of rights of the deprived classes… is ingrained in the BJP and RSS mindset manifested by the thought process and actions of none less than the PM himself.” An animated Lalu asked Modi, BJP and RSS to apologise to the nation for their anti-dalit and ant-OBC mindset. “Modi is carrying forward the RSS ideology of denying social justice and subjugating the deprived sections. We demand an apology from Modi, BJP and RSS.”

He also attacked the PM for making a sizeable cut in budgetary allocations for SC/ST welfare. “Modi’s government has dealt a body blow to all welfare schemes relating to SC and ST across India by imposing sharp budgetary cuts. A budgetary cut of Rs 19,734 crore in the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Rs 12,406 crore in the Scheduled Tribes Sub-Plan has been made in the Union Budget,” Lalu claimed. He attacked BJP president Amit Shah: “Shah dreams of becoming PM by pushing back his mentor Narendra Modi.” Questioning BJP’s development agenda in Bihar, he asked why BJP was promising free TVs, laptops and motorbikes to the youths if the saffron party was so sure of developing the state.

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