It is amusing to think the BJP had opposed former Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s “cynical” “backward caste politics” that led him to implement the Mandal Commission recommendations, which sanctioned 27 per cent reservations in education and government jobs to categories officially listed as Other Backward Castes.
The saffron party unleashed its “kamandal” politics to counter “Mandal”. This led to the destruction of the Babri Masjid. But now the BJP is trying to milk both “Mandal” and “kamandal”. Before major elections it keeps fluttering the flag of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of a commission to examine the viability of distributing the benefits of Mandal reservations across 5,000 or so sub-categories. These benefits have mostly gone to the demographically and economically more dominant among OBCs — the Yadavs and Kurmis in North India. (Mandal politics is mainly a North Indian affair as the middle castes — those falling between the caste Hindus and dalit sections — in the South have been empowered over decades, starting in British India, under the pressure of social and political movements.)
So that the OBC “creamy layer” — the well-off among them who have benefited the most — may not feel wholly shortchanged, the measures of “creamy layer” has been changed in Wednesday’s decision — from an income of Rs 6 lakh per year to Rs 8 lakh. This is a trick designed to cover all bases. In the UP elections, the BJP had reaped the benefits of winning over non-Yadav OBC sections....