Sharat Pradhan reports on the protests in Uttar Pradesh by government employees unhappy with the Centre's proposed move to provide reservation in job promotions and the support extended to the legislation by the BJP and BSP
Thousands of anti-reservationists marched in a procession from the state secretariat -- the key office of the UP government -- raising anti-Congress, anti-BJP and anti-BSP slogans to mark their protest against what they termed as the "unholy nexus between the three political parties", who were busy pushing the bill to introduce reservation for Dalits in promotions too.
Carrying three effigies of the Congress, BJP and BSP in the form of corpses, protesting employees acted like pall-bearers and claimed to take out a "funeral" procession of each of these political parties.
They stopped outside the state headquarters of the BJP, where each of the 'corpses' was burnt one by one amidst cries of BJP murdabad, Congress murdabad and BSP Murdabad.
Anti-reservationist action committee convenor Shailendra Dube addressed a roadside rally outside the BJP office urging employees to continue the stir until the proposed constitutional amendment seeking reservation in promotions was dropped.
Work in all major government offices across Uttar Pradesh remained suspended on Wednesday.
Reports reaching Lucknow from different corners of the country's most populous state said that employees staged protest demonstrations almost everywhere.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party is all set to oppose the bill even in the Lok Sabha.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary told rediff.com in Lucknow, "Congress may always be proclaiming to be opposed to communal forces, but it was now amply evident that it had openly joined hands with a communal BJP; and what is worse that it has also exposed its underhand nexus with the Bahujan Samaj Party."
On whether the Congress was propping up BSP to run down the SP, Chaudhary shot back, "I think the Congress is digging its own grave, which you will see at the 2014 general elections. As far as SP is concerned, we only stand to gain out of this blatantly visible alignment between Congress, BJP and BSP."
He added, "While the BJP is bound to lose much of its upper caste Hindu support on this account, Congress will lose whatever little support it was getting of Muslims, before whom the Congress party's double standards stood fully exposed now."
In this regard, it would be worth mentioning here that SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav had already thrown the bait at Muslims by raising the demand for quota for Muslims.
"The condition of Muslims was in most cases worse than than of dalits, so they deserved to get reservation in government jobs, but the Congress-led UPA had always been ignoring that genuine need," Mulayam told media persons.
The Congress is clearly looking forward to getting some political mileage out of this move. Besides showing to the BSP that this was Congress party's way of repaying the party for its support on the crucial FDI in retail bill, the Congress was also hoping to reap a harvest of Dalit votes in states where the BSP had yet to establish itself.
Sure enough the Congress is aware of the very limited influence that BSP wields outside UP. Interestingly, the BJP too has similar hopes though it was an open secret that Dalits had never shown any inclination towards the party.