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Cong, SP Want Quota Provision For OBCs Before Holding Rural Polls

The demand was made by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) media cell chief Ganeswar Behera and SP state president Rabi Behera.

Cong, SP Want Quota Provision For OBCs Before Holding Rural Polls
A demonstration for quotas. | Sanjay Rawat
Cong, SP Want Quota Provision For OBCs Before Holding Rural Polls
outlookindia.com
2021-12-29T21:00:37+05:30

Amid the ongoing blame game between the ruling BJD and opposition BJP over non-implementation of the reservation for OBC candidates, Odisha’s two other parties- Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP)-  have asserted that there is a need to first implement the OBC quota before holding panchayat polls.        

The demand was made by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) media cell chief Ganeswar Behera and SP state president Rabi Behera. “Both the BJD and the BJP have played with the sentiments of OBCs who constitute a major portion of the state’s population. Both parties are responsible for the lack of reservation for OBCs in the panchayat and urban polls,” Ganeswar Behera said, adding that the state should go to polls only after implementing the OBC quota provision.      

The former Congress MLA also demanded that a special session of the Assembly be convened to make required legal provision to give social justice to the OBCs in the state. Once the legislation is made, the OBCs can get the reservation in politics, education and jobs like other states, he said. SP leader Rabi Behera in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requested  postponement of the Panchayat polls in the state for a period of six months to provide reservation to OBC in the PRIs. He also requested the CM to file a review petition in the Supreme Court on OBC reservation.       

“Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have already postponed Panchayat Election and Municipality Election,” Behera said. “Keeping this in view, we request you to defer the Panchayat Poll by 6 months. Before that, begin the caste Census of Other Back-ward Classes in Odisha and ensure 27 percent reservation for OBCs in education, employment & Panchayat Election,” he requested the Chief Minister.      

Earlier on December 26 Foundation Day, the ruling BJD had announced that the party would provide 40 per cent tickets to OBCs in the Panchayat and urban Polls and to follow the Central Government on OBC reservation. Opposition BJP had also asked the State Government to file Special Leave Provision before the Supreme Court on the OBC reservation issue.       

The state government withdrew the provision of quota for the OBCs in Odisha’s panchayat and urban elections after the  Supreme Court in its December 17 order struck down the reservation for the same category in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and asked them to first to comply with the triple test being a precondition before notifying reservation of seats for OBCs the local bodies under their jurisdiction.      

The triple test includes setting up of a dedicated commission to conduct empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness as regards local bodies in the state, specifying the proportion of reservation required according to the commission’s recommendations. Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also recently had criticised the state’s BJD government and said “the Odisha state government could also have approached SC against the recent order of HC of Odisha, especially when its own SLP for reservation beyond 50 per cent limit is pending with the apex court.”       

Meanwhile, the State Election Commission, Odisha has issued notification for holding the panchayat elections and also model code of conduct for parties and candidates, though dates for the polling are yet to be announced. 

-With PTI Inputs

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