Will quota in promotions serve any purpose?
The politicians will never campaign for merit in jobs or promotions because rarely do they get elected on merits. Many of them get elected because of the freebies they distribute in the form of goodies or promises.
Ironically, they are not even learning lessons from the downslide in the popularity of leaders like Vishwanath Pratap Singh, whose government implemented Mandal commission, and former union minister Arjun Singh, who as HRD minister wanted quota in the faculties of top educational institutions like IIT’s. It did not improve his popular base.
But political parties and their netas continue to experiment with quota politics with two powerful politicians of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, holding the centre-stage. I somehow feel the die is cast. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections will be fought on quota in promotions with Mayawati, supported by UPA II, pushing it despite the supreme court’s stay on her government’s order in the state. Her mentor Kanshi Ram had always preferred ‘power’ to ‘quota’ for Dalits as he had once told me ‘crutches cripple a caste or a community’. But then he was running a mission while Mayawati is doing politics.
What are her gains? She reconsolidates her vote bank in Uttar Pradesh which had started showing signs of fragmentation while exploring opportunities across the country, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The motive behind SP’s opposition is also crystal clear. They are eying the Muslims, the Brahmins and the Backwards. But what is the Congress gaining? Either it has given up or plans to piggy ride the BSP to retain the 20 odd seats it had won. The recovery of the party has been a major challenge in the state.. And now with their support to quota in promotions, the Congress will only alienate the Brahmins and the Muslims further.
The parties may win or lose, worst is that merit will become a casualty.