`PM must clear his stance on whether he will remove 50 pc cap on reservation SC`

Congress on Wednesday took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing the ruling party of harping on `400 paar` in the Lok Sabha polls so that they could change the Constitution and end reservations and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi whether he will support an amendment to the Constitution for the purpose.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, party general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said that the party had some questions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi — specifically, his views on removing the 50 per cent cap on SC, ST and OBC quota.

He alleged that the BJP is “talking about `400 paar`” to change the Constitution as the “BJP and the RSS are against secularism and social justice.”

“The Prime Minister should clarify his stand instead of constant diversion, distortion and defamation of the Congress party. Notwithstanding the denials by the Prime Minister, the BJP wanted to change the constitution as its ideological ancestors had opposed it, right since November 1949, when the Draft of the Constitution was adopted,” the Congress leader said.

The party also boasted that its promise of `Rs 400 per day` national minimum wage is the real `400 paar`.

He quoted from an article that he claimed was published in the RSS` mouthpiece `Organiser` on November 30, 1949, which said, “the worst thing about the new Constitution of Bharat is that there is nothing Bharatiyata about it. The drafters of the Constitution have incorporated in it elements of British, American, Canadian, Swiss and sundry other Constitutions. Manu`s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day, his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti, excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

“The party was categorically clear that it will do away with the fifty percent cap on reservations and asked the Prime Minister to clear his own stand on the issue as to whether he was in favour of removing the cap or against it,” he added.

Referring to International Labour Day falling on Wednesday, he said it is most appropriate to recall the `Shramik Nyay` guarantees in the Congress Nyay Patra. The party has promised “Sabko Swaasthya Adhikaar (Universal Right to Health), Rs 25 lakh universal health coverage, with free diagnostics, medicines, treatment, and surgery.”

Listing the guarantees of Congress, Ramesh said its promise of Rs 400 per day national minimum wage is the real `400 paar`, referring to BJP`s 400+ target set for 2024 polls.

Ramesh accused the Prime Minister of distorting the Congress party manifesto by trying to give it a “communal colour”.

He also refuted the PM`s allegation about religion-based reservations, saying “it was a fake charge” and asked the PM to point out where the Congress had said it in its election manifesto.

To a question on the party decision on fielding candidates from Amethi and Raebareli, he said that the Central Election Committee of the party had empowered the Congress president to finalise the candidates and it would be done and announced within the next 24 to 30 hours.

Listing five guarantees for labourers he said, the daily minimum wage will be increased to Rs 400 and this will include MGNREGA workers also.

“This is real `400 paar,” he remarked.

He said that the Congress will bring in a law for guarantee on urban employment like it did in 2006 when it brought MGNREGA for rural employment.

“There will be special provision for social security for the unorganised sector, which will include life and accidental cover insurance. The Congress government will scrap the contract system of appointments and there will be regular recruitments with a guarantee for secure jobs,” Jairam Ramesh added.

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