The Congress on Wednesday said it welcomes the decision to approve 10 per cent quota for the economically backward sections in the general category but questioned its timing as it comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "We are not opposing it. But the question is why it is being brought all of a sudden. It is the last session (of Parliament)...then there are elections."He asked why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not bring the bill in its four-and-half years of rule and emphasised that the decision came after the saffron party lost five states in the recently-concluded Assembly polls."You (BJP) got a message that you were not on the right path. Now, (general) elections are around the corner," said Sharma, adding that the BJP is set to lose the 2019 elections."You are going to get a big message soon. The bill has been brought by a government that is already in the departure lounge."He asked the government to clarify as to who all would benefit if the 10 per cent quota comes into force.
The bill was moved for passage in the House by Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot.Sharma said the Congress supported the concept of reservation with an objective to extend the benefits of education, jobs to the deprived, backwards and weaker sections.He criticised the government for not taking all parties into confidence before bringing the constitutional amendment bill in the Parliament."The tendency of this government is not to respect Parliament and to bypass legislative scrutiny while making laws or constitutional amendments. I deplore it. It is calculative, deliberate disrespect to the highest institution of democracy," he said.Sharma also took a dig at the BJP government for its promise of creating two crore new jobs every year.The number of jobs in public sector undertakings (PSUs) had decreased from 11.85 lakh to 11.31 lakh in 2016-17 and further to 10.88 lakh in 2017-18, he said.He appealed to the Narendra Modi government to bring economy, which got derailed due to demonetisation and poor implementation of GST -- back on track and create jobs.