Time to end quota in Parliament, assemblies: Prakash Ambedkar
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Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president, believes it is high time to get rid of reservation for SCs/STs in electoral politics. He, however, wants existing quotas in education and jobs, as guaranteed by Constitution of India, to continue.
Of the total 543 seats in Lok Sabha, 131 are reserved for dalits and tribals. Similar is the case with state assemblies.
Ambedkar told Express staff during Idea Exchange, "I still believe reservation should continue for socio-economic uplift of dalits and tribals.
"Reservation for dalits and tribals in elections was suggested by my grandfather keeping in mind the strong prejudice in the system those days when non-dalits did not vote for backward candidates. Over the years, however, caste barriers have fallen. Today, nobody considers dalits untouchables. Dalit and tribal candidates also poll sizeable votes from members of other communities, religion and upper caste."
Ambedkar said his grandfather advocated reservation in the electoral system for a specific time and purpose.
"Babasaheb (Ambedkar) himself in his lifetime suggested reservation in politics should be done away with in the coming elections."
The BBM chief said dalits, who constitute average 15 per cent of the country's population, were still struggling to attain desired goals in education and employment. Therefore, he said, quota in education could not be abolished.
(Read Idea Exchange with Prakash Ambedkar in full in Monday edition)