Day after vote, SC-ST promotion quota Bill roils BJP from within

FP

A day after the BJP supported a constitutional amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha to provide quotas for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions in government jobs, senior BJP leaders from Uttar Pradesh took their objections to the party leadership.

Sources said senior leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Lalji Tandon stressed at the BJP parliamentary party meeting Tuesday that the move could have an adverse impact on the party's support base in UP.

BJP leader L K Advani was learnt to have asked Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley to explain the rationale behind supporting the Bill. Sources said Jaitley argued that the party can claim credit for its intervention that got the government to introduce amendments to provide a ceiling of 22 per cent, and incorporate principles of efficiency by way of annual confidential reports for SC, STs for availing promotions.

BJP sources said former party president Rajnath Singh too is opposed to the Bill.

"Even MPs from Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are against it. The government will face the music when it brings the Bill in Lok Sabha," a BJP MP said.

BJP MPs said the party's firebrand MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, has described the move as "dacoity in the name of social justice", and indicated that he may not hesitate to voice his opposition in Lok Sabha.

Former UP BJP chief Surya Pratap Shahi too had warned the party leadership on the Bill.

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