16 parties in Tamil Nadu oppose 10% reservation for poor

O Panneerselvam, reservation - The Federal
O Panneerselvam. PTI File Photo

As many as 16 parties in Tamil Nadu have opposed the 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the state. However, Congress, BJP, CPI(M), Puthiya Tamilagam Katchi and Tamil Manila Congress have supported the law.

The ruling AIADMK has refused to take sides, but said it will maintain the 69% reservation in the state.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), CPI, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Naam Tamilar Katchi were among those who opposed it.

This was the first time Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) was invited to an all-party meet in the state. The party has opposed the reservation.

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Though it is not considered a political party, Dravidar Kazhagam of Periyar was invited due to its legacy. The party also opposed the move.

Initially, Panneerselvam said if we accepted 10 per cent reservation, we will get 1500 more seats in medical colleges. “Even if we give 150 seats to the Centre under this reservation, we will able to get 1,350 seats,” he said.

Addressing media after the meeting, Panneerselvam said the AIADMK government will try to ensure that the 69 per cent reservation in the state is maintained.

“We will try to protect the social justice legacy of our leader Jayalalithaa. The government will take a better decision soon,” he said.

Opposition leader and DMK chief MK Stalin said that reservation is not a poverty eradication scheme.

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“The reservation policy exists from the time of Justice Party. Nowhere in the policy has it been mentioned ‘reservation for EWS’. None of the past CMs, Kamaraj, CN Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, J Jayalalithaa, had compromised on this issue. Already, the majority of students in the states are affected due to NEET exams,” he added.

The VCK stressed that the issue must be approached on an “in-principle” basis and not on practical terms.

“In cases filed against reservation such as Champakam Dorairajan case in 1951 and Indra Sawhney case against Mandal Commission, it has been reiterated that the socially backward section should alone should be taken into consideration as a criterion for giving the reservation,” the party said in a statement.

According to the AISHE report published by the Centre, in higher educational institutions across the country, most of the positions are occupied by forward community teachers, which stands at 58 per cent, the statement pointed out.

“We are already providing 15 per cent MBBS seats and 50 per cent PG seats to the Central pool. But the Centre till now has not implemented the 27 per cent reservation to the medical seats among its pool,” it said.

Naam Tamilar Katchi’s chief Seeman asked why the 10 per cent reservation should be given to the EWS when the category’s name itself suggests ‘forward’ community.

During Seeman’s speech, Puthiya Tamilagam Katchi’s chief Dr K Krishnasamy intervened and a verbal war ensued between them.