New Delhi: Reservations for disadvantaged groups should continue in India to compensate for “centuries of subjugation and oppression," Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Wednesday.

“The Indian National Congress is of the firm opinion that the system of reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs (Other Backward Castes) must continue," she said in a statement. “This is essential to deal with the discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression."

Gandhi’s statement came after her party’s general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi called for an end to reservation on caste lines. Dwivedi suggested instead the introduction of quotas for financially weaker sections, bringing all communities under its ambit.

“This (reservation on caste lines) should have come to an end. Why it did not happen so far was because vested interests got into the process. Does the real needy person even among the Dalits and backward castes get the benefits of reservation? Those in the upper crust of these communities only avail the benefits. There is a difference between social justice and casteism," Dwivedi said on Tuesday, according to a PTI report.

“There should be no doubt or ambiguity on the stand of the Indian National Congress on the system of reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs,’ Gandhi said on Wednesday. “They were introduced by the Congress party, they have been strengthened by the Congress party and they will continue to be championed by the Congress party."

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