Will raise reservation quota beyond 50 per cent if voted to power: Rahul Gandhi  

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MADHYA PRADESH, MAY 7: Batting for a caste census, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that his party will remove the present 50 per cent cap on reservation if voted to power at the Centre.

Addressing an election rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, he said “from this stage, I want to tell you that leave aside (talk of) snatching reservation, we are going to raise it above 50 per cent in the interest of the people,’’  The court has contained the reservation limit at 50 per cent, he added.

He also promised that INDIA alliance, if voted to power, will go ahead with a caste based census and economic census for the upliftment of the tribals, Dalits, OBCs and the poor from general castes.

Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to snatch the people’s rights, he said the present elections were aimed at saving the Constitution which the ruling party and the RSS want to change. “Their leaders have said that they will snatch away reservation given to tribals, Dalits and OBCs,’’ Rahul Gandhi said, adding that the Congress and the INDIA alliance were protecting the Constitution.

“We call you Adivasi – the first owner of the forests and the land,’’ he said, adding that the Forest Rights Act and the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, were brought in by the Congress to protect your rights. They (ruling party) want to reverse the benefits we have extended to you all, he added.

He promised an increase in payment under MGNREGA from Rs 250 to Rs 400 a day, Rs 1 lakh annually (Rs 8,500 per month) to a poor woman under the Mahalaxmi Yojana until her family is pulled out of poverty and minimum support price to farmers for their produce once the INDIA alliance is voted to power.