Barely half-an-hour before the model code of conduct kicked in for the 2021 Assembly election on Friday, the AIADMK government pushed through legislation to temporarily provide for 10.5% special reservation for the Vanniakula Kshatriyas within the quota for the Most Backward Classes (MBCs).
The Bill provides for internal reservation for the MBCs and Denotified Communities. The Most Backward Class of the Vanniakula Kshatriyas will get 10.5%, the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities 7% and the Most Backward Classes 2.5%.
This quota will be created from within the 20% reservation for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities. They will now get a special reservation of seats in educational institutions, including private educational institutions, and in government services.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami introduced the Bill at a sitting on Friday afternoon, after news of the Election Commission’s press conference to announce the dates for the Assembly election broke before noon. Mr. Palaniswami made it clear that this was a temporary arrangement.
“The reservation provided for in this Bill will be temporary. Once the caste-based census is completed, this will be revised based on the findings,” he said.
The PMK, a key ally of the AIADMK, had organised an agitation demanding exclusive reservation for Vanniyars in government jobs and higher education. Initially the PMK leadership had demanded 20% reservation but scaled it down after meetings with a delegation of Ministers.
The Bill was passed by a voice vote in the absence of the Opposition parties, which have boycotted the session. “This Act is based on the recommendations made by the committee led by Justice M.S. Janarthanam (retired) in 2012,” Mr. Palaniswami said after the Bill went through the House.
The Chief Minister said these communities had been protesting to demand separate reservation. He said PMK founder S. Ramadoss and other leaders of the community had long been demanding a separate quota for the community. “We have brought in the legislation today based on the requests,” he said.
He said these communities had been seeking a separate reservation as they could not compete with the other castes and communities in the list of the MBCs and Denotified Communities so as to get their legitimate share of the benefit.