Several political cartoonists have used the reservation bill recently passed in Parliament as fodder for their sketches.

The Parliament had on Wednesday cleared the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, within two days of the Union Cabinet’s approval. The bill sought to amend key articles in the Constitution to allow reservation in aided and unaided institutions for the economically backward from upper castes.

Cartoonists have mocked the Narendra Modi government for its last-minute move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, and the Opposition too for its grudging support that helped the bill sail through. A reply given by a Union minister to a question in the Parliament the same day the bill was tabled showed that the legislation was not planned much earlier.

Sandeep Adhwaryu’s cartoon in The Times of India showed how Modi used the poor as a poll plank and the Opposition parties, in turn, used this move by Modi as their own poll pitch – by supporting the bill.

Another cartoon by Adhwaryu showed Modi reading books by thinkers and leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the initial years of his term, and switching to VP Singh in his last year. VP Singh was the prime minister when the India introduced the long-pending reservations for the Other Backward Classes in 1990.

Mika Aziz’s cartoon showed Modi dangling a carrot for the common man as he races towards the Lok Sabha elections. Congress leader Anand Sharma had said in the Rajya Sabha that the bill was introduced in haste before the model code of conduct comes into force, “thinking ... let’s dangle a carrot in front of the public, show them another dream that Modiji made arrangements for their children’s employment”.

In another cartoon, Aziz drew a parallel between Modi and Ramayana character Hanuman. In a popular depiction from the Hindu epic, Hanuman is shown flying in the air carrying the Sanjivani, a herb to cure Lakshman. The cartoon showed Modi in the air over the Parliament, carrying the “Citizenship Bill” and “10% quota” – the “Sanjivani” for his government.

Cartoonist Manjul depicted the support that Modi received for the bill from Opposition leaders even as they raised their objections to the way the bill was introduced. P Mahamud depicted Modi dangling a chair to depict jobs for economically backward with Lok Sabha polls in mind, while Satish Acharya called it “pollipop”, playing on the word lollipop.

Credit: Satish Acharya has been extensively reporting on the politics around the Quota Bill. Read our coverage here.