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While the BJP's national leadership is supporting the constitutional amendment bill for reservation in promotion, the party's UP unit is a divided house.
A day after the BJP voted for the bill in the Rajya Sabha, party spokesperson in UP Satyadev Singh appealed to all Lok Sabha members, including those from the BJP, to rethink on the bill before voting in the lower house.
In a statement, Satyadev said the bill would disturb social harmony and create divisions in society. He urged Lok Sabha members to keep in mind the bill's possible ill-effects on society. He said that voting in the Lok Sabha on any Constitution amendment bill should only be guided by the interests of the nation, the deprived and the backward, and not for political calculations.
He said adequate provisions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were already there in the Constitution. "If these provisions did not give results, the Centre is responsible and the Constitution should not be blamed. Change should be in the intention of government and not the Constitution," Singh said.
Stating that reservation had existed for nearly 60 years, he said, "Reservation is to provide level playing field for all sections of society. When social equality has almost been met, this bill is being introduced to recreate inequality. Here, party workers in UP are facing the ire of protesting employees who are pelting stones and throwing shoes in party office," he said.
Asked about his statement, Singh said, "I have said nothing against the party line. I have voiced the view of majority of party workers, MLAs and office-bearers in UP."
However, state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai said, "Whatever Satyadev has said, it could be his personal view. It is not the view of the party." Asked about the party's view, Bajpai said, "It will be cleared on Wednesday."
Already, BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has announced he will oppose the bill in the Lok Sabha. BJP deputy leader in UP Assembly Satish Mahana had also opposed the bill.
Sources said senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Lalji Tandon stressed at the BJP parliamentary party meeting today that supporting the bill could have an adverse impact on the party's support base in UP.
BJP parliamentary party chairman L K Advani was learnt to have asked Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley to explain the rationale behind the party's support to the Bill.
Joshi's opposition reportedly came to the fore at a congregation of Brahmins organised in Jaipur last Sunday. Sources said former party president Rajnath Singh is also opposed to the Bill.