MP: SC’s order to conduct local body polls without OBC reservation put BJP, Cong in dilemma

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MP: SC’s order to conduct local body polls without OBC reservation put BJP, Cong in dilemma

Bhopal: The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (MPSEC) to start the process for conducting the local body polls in the state. However, the hurdles for the three-layer panchayat elections in the state continue to persist as both the ruling (BJP) and the Opposition (Congress) have already expressed unanimously that “elections should not be held without Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation”.

The SC’s judgment on this much debated and long pending OBC reservation issue has put both BJP and the Congress into a dilemma – what to do and what not to do.

With less than two years left for the state Assembly polls, both the political parties advocate for increasing OBC’s quota from the existing 14 per cent to 27 per cent – the step which is seen as a move to lure the OBC voters.

Interestingly, as per the 2011 Census, OBCs constitute 50.09 per cent of the state’s population, and both the political parties want to get support from the community in the next Assembly polls.

The BJP, which seemed to be on the back foot on th issue, responded soon after the apex court gave directions to the MPSEC, saying that the government will file a review petition against the verdict.

Responding to queries, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “We are yet to study the judgement in detail but we will file a review petition hoping that the panchayat elections be held with OBC reservation.”

Whereas, the state Congress unit has once again sharpened its attack on the Chief Minister and held him responsible for the present situation. The Congress accused the BJP of “not presenting detailed data regarding the OBC reservation before the court and hiding facts on the matter”.

Congress MLA and former state cabinet minister Kamleshwar Patel, who is considered one of the key OBC leaders in the party, while speaking to IANS claimed that the BJP’s “hidden agenda has brought this situation”.

“The manner in which the BJP government presented the case before the court is a clear indication that they (BJP) have some agenda behind it. They (BJP) do not want to give benefit of reservation to OBC and that is why Shivraj government had passed a resolution to conduct local body polls without providing reservation to the community. The resolution was taken back because of relentless opposition from the Congress.”

Patel further said that the Kamal Nath led Congress government had proposed to increase OBC reservation quota from 14 per cent to 27 per cent, but the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led BJP government “intentionally tampered with the set of constitutional rules for its political gain”.

“This is not only about OBC reservation but about ST/SC also. Because of the BJP’s wrong policies and tampering with constitutional rules, promotion of state employees falling under ST/SC categories and others are pending since long. Several employees have retired without getting benefit of their constitutional rights. BJP has destroyed the entire system just for its political gain and left the people of all communities to suffer,” Patel added.

Replying to whether the Congress will agree with the SC’s decision to conduct elections without OBC reservation, Patel said, “Congress party would welcome the apex court’s direction and will contest elections. We will tell the people about the hidden face of the BJP on the reservation issue.”

The SC on Tuesday directed the states to follow the triple test it laid down in 2021 for reservation to OBC in local body elections. The triple test involves the appointment of panels, gathering empirical data quantifying the extent and backwardness local body-wise, and ensuring the reservation does not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling.


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