BJP Keeps OBC Creamy Layer Issue on the Backseat to Avoid Upsetting Bihar Voters

As any attempt to tamper the quota system may cost the BJP dearly ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, it has decided to keep the OBC creamy layer issue on the back burner.

PM Narendra Modi and CM of Bihar Nitish Kumar. File photo

The Bihar assembly elections are around the corner and the NDA is working day and night to woo its vote bank despite the ongoing pandemic and it is perhaps because of this reason, that the Narendra Modi government has decided to give its very controversial proposal regarding OBC quota a backseat at the moment and not make it a forefront issue, so that it doesn’t negatively impact the voters in any way. Seems like the BJP government is considering it best to not stir the hornet’s nest in the countdown to the upcoming Bihar elections which will take place in the later half of the year.

 Under what is often being looked at as a controversial proposal regarding the OBC quota, the Modi government has been keen on increasing the income cap for the creamy layer category of the other backward classes(OBCs) from an earlier Rs 8 lakh to a revised Rs 12 lakh package, apart from making salary earning a part of the gross annual income that serves as a criteria based on which a candidate’s eligibility for the quota is determined.

The OBC community has highly appreciated the proposal to enhance the income ceiling as it would certainly benefit a lot of people in the groups but the issue of salary inclusion which is targeted to making the process more transparent hasn’t gone too well with the community as they assert that such a move will undo the achievements of the Mandal Commission.

 The changes that have been proposed where given a go-ahead by a group of ministers headed by Rajnath Singh at a meeting in February which was also attended by Home Minister Amit Shah. 

The changes were ready and the officials were in full mood to send it to the Cabinet for a final thumbs-up but the government decided against it due to the upcoming Bihar elections. 

An important reason for not sending it for immediate approval may be the government’s fears that it could have political implications for them. The decision has mainly seen opposition from government employees in the B and C categories who may have to get affected by the provisions while the poorer sections are more likely to gain from the move. 

The BJP feared that any bid to play with the quota system may cost the BJP heavily in the upcoming Bihar elections and that is why it seems to have pushed the issue to the back burner as of now instead of making it a frontal issue.

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