Revanth shows BJP the ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee’ mirror on Modi’s claims of ‘not changing the Constitution’

The Telangana CM said he was convinced that a vote for BJP was a vote for scrapping reservations, while Congress would protect quotas.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 01, 2024 | 9:08 PMUpdatedMay 01, 2024 | 9:08 PM

File photo of Telangana chief Minister A Revanth Reddy.

Seeking to nail BJP on its professions that it was the only party that upheld the Constitution of India, Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy on Wednesday, 1 May, said he had enough proof to show that the saffron party was intent on reviewing the constitution to scrap reservations for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The chief minister told reporters at his Jubilee Hills residence in Hyderabad that the seeds to attempt to review the Constitution were sown when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.

“In 2000, when Vajpayee was the prime minister, there was a mention of the need for a review of the Constitution in the address of then-President KR Narayanan. Subsequently, the Centre issued a gazette notification ordering a review of the Constitution,” said Revanth Reddy.

“As a follow-up action, the Centre then constituted a commission headed by Justice MN Venkatachalaiah, which submitted its report by 2002 on reviewing the Constitution. BJP could not go ahead with its agenda of reviewing the constitution as the UPA came to power in 2004,” added the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee chief.

Revanth Reddy said that the commission’s report was not available now, but he knew that BJP was keen on changing the Constitution if it secured a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha in this election.

“This is why BJP has been singing the chorus that this time the NDA should get more than 400 seats. BJP also toppled several Congress-led state governments in the country to pave the way for obtaining the consent of 50 percent of the state Assemblies that is necessary to change the character of the Constitution,” he said.

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Digging up RSS talking points

The chief minister, quoting a book written by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar, said the right-wing organisation wanted reservations in the country to be scrapped. He said Golwalkar had in fact regretted that the SCs had equal rights as others, and that this system should be done away with.

“He argued in favour of a society that had no caste regimentation,” said the chief mister, besides pointing to another RSS leader — MG Vaidya — echoing a similar opinion.

Vaidya, he claimed, said in 2015 that reservations should be scrapped after 10 years. That was the unfinished task BJP wanted to complete after coming to power, said Revanth.

The chief minister demanded that BJP spell out whether it differed from the line Golwakar, Vajpayee, and Vaidya had taken.

Sumitra Mahajan, who was the speaker of Lok Sabha after BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, also wondered how long reservations should continue, he said.

Related: ‘Don’t come to Telangana and threaten its CM,’ Revanth tells PM Modi

Offering a choice

Revanth Reddy said that as he was unravelling the BJP plot of doing away with reservations by changing the character of the Constitution.

He said BJP had developed cold feet due to his pushback, and thus had begun trying to harass him.

BJP had sent Delhi Police after him, but what the saffron party did not understand was that though he might be junior to the saffron party’s bigwigs, he was made of a different mettle, he said.

“They probably do not know I will not toe their line even if they use strong-arm tactics. If they want to know more about me, maybe they should speak to the leader who has a lot of free time now, and learn how he bit the dust for trying to arm-twist me,” said Revanth.

He was referring to BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, whose party lost last year’s Telangana Assembly elections last year to Congress.

Revanth also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had already implemented most of RSS’ action plan and now only scrapping of the reservations remained. This, he said, would become possible only after BJP achieved a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha.

He expressed surprise over the Union Home Mistry registering a case against him for uncovering their conspiracy. “It was not any BJP leader in Hyderabad or in Delhi but the Home Ministry itself that registered the case against me,” he noted.

“Police officials reporting to the Union Home Ministry flew down to Hyderabad as though heavens were falling apart and a threat was looming large on national security, and issued notices to me and several social media activists,” he said.

The chief minister added that he was convinced that if one voted for BJP, it would be a vote for the scrapping of reservations, while if one supported Congress, it was to protect them.

“Congress wants to ensure and retain reservations,” he said, adding that the main issue at stake now was whether to vote for a review of the Constitution. It is no longer either development or welfare, he said.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)