Why did the Patel movement for reservation start now? Is it to really get reservation for Patels or is it to abolish the Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation altogether, if not Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe reservation as well? Is it meant to strengthen the boat of Narendra Modi, who declared his OBC background during the election campaign to galvanise the OBC votes in favour of Modi’s election, which was not so much the BJP’s election? Or is it to rock Modi’s boat and see that the hold of Shudra upper castes such as Patels, Jats, Gujjars and Marathas even at the Centre would increase? Are they in a position to challenge the Brahmins and Baniyas, who are actually running the central government, though Modi appears to be a strong prime minister? Some of these questions need to be examined and possible answers should be put in the public domain.
The core cadre of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) consists of anti-reservationists and also the supporters of caste system in the sense of Sanatan Varna Dharma. Hence the core cadre that came from the Brahmin, Baniya, Kshatriya and Shudra upper castes comprising Patels, Jats, Marathas and so on, who galvanised around Modi’s election, were given to understand that if the BJP gets a majority of its own, the OBC reservation structure would be reviewed.
Let us not forget the fact that on the social media front and in the mobilisation strategy work of “Team Modi” (at that time it was not “Team India’”), the upper-caste youth, who have a hatred towards the reservation system itself, were in a majority. They now think that Modi’s victory was because of them but his government is not reviewing the much-hated reservation system.
Modi’s pronouncement that he belonged to an OBC background was unexpected because he never used that card as long as he was the chief minister of Gujarat. He knew that the Patels and the other Gujarati upper castes were against reservation for OBCs and minorities (Muslims or Dalit Christians). But the electoral field in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (for the 2014 Lok Sabha election) was different and until and unless the OBC votes were not weaned away from the ruling OBC leaders of those states, Modi would not have won that many seats there. Having won a very impressive number of seats in UP and Bihar, now Modi can neither go against OBC reservation nor can he undo the Supreme Court cap of 50 percent reservations and extend reservation to the Shudra upper castes of India, who at one time preferred the Kshatriyaisation process but not the Mandalisation process.