PATNA: The BJP on Tuesday asserted that it would not allow dilution of the SC-ST Act 'at any cost' and lambasted opposition parties for 'spreading rumours' that the Narendra Modi government was planning to scrap reservations for backward classes.
The party also sought to highlight the 'pro-Dalit' character of the Sangh Parivar, recalling the close association of Hindutva ideologue Dattopant Thengadi with Babasaheb Ambedkar, and the Prime Minister's thrust on construction of toilets, thus eradicating manual scavenging carried out by those belonging to the depressed classes.
'The (Narendra) Modi government gave more teeth to the SC/ST Act when, in 2016, it amended the law and brought 47 offences under its ambit as against the previous number of only 24. The Supreme Court order, diluting the Act, was challenged promptly and if no relief is granted, the centre is ready to opt for the legislative route,' senior party leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.
Addressing a workshop of the party's Scheduled Caste wing, the deputy chief minister said the party will not allow scrapping of reservations 'at any cost' and that it has always favoured introducing quotas in promotions, which was introduced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Mr Modi also spoke at length about the various schemes undertaken in the state, where the BJP was in the ruling coalition, for the welfare of SCs and STs.
Later at a press conference, the party's national spokesman Bizay Sonkar Shastri said, 'The BJP will not allow the scrapping of reservations or the dilution of the SC/ST Act at any cost. Rumours to this effect are being spread by the opposition out of desperation.'