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Jana cornered over BC reservations

Special Correspondent
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BCs protest move to reduce reservation for weaker sections in local body polls

Introduction of bill to amend Constitution to retain present level soughtMinister's offer to file an appeal in Supreme Court on the issue rejected
Introduction of bill to amend Constitution to retain present level soughtMinister's offer to file an appeal in Supreme Court on the issue rejected

Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy was placed in a tight spot during his discussions in the Secretariat on Friday over the extent of reservation to be allowed to backward classes (BC) in local body elections.

Tough time

R. Krishnaiah, president, AP State Backward Classes' Welfare Association, and his followers gave a tough time to the Minister, protesting against his decision to hold talks after the government had decided to reduce the reservation to BCs from 34 to 23.5 per cent and to restrict the overall reservation to weaker sections to 50 per cent in compliance with the Supreme Court order.

They wanted introduction of a Bill in the Parliament to amend the Constitution to retain the present level of 60.55 per cent reservation to these sections and to enhance it further based on the Backward Classes population in the State.

They rejected the Minister's offer to file an appeal in the Supreme Court on the ground that it would not serve any purpose except delaying the matter.

Mr. Reddy, on the other hand, denied that a decision had been taken to reduce the reservation to BCs in these elections to 23.5 per cent.

“Time-pass exercise”

Much to the Minister's chagrin, the BC leaders also dubbed the government proposal to study how other States tackled the problem “as a time-pass exercise”.

Agitation threat

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Krishnaiah demanded 50 per cent reservation for BCs as they constituted a half of the State's population and threatened to launch an agitation if the present reservation was slashed.

Legal opinion

The Panchayat Raj Minister said that the State government was consulting legal experts to file an appeal before the apex court. He also clarified that Muslims were eligible for four per cent political reservations as they too figured in the State's Backward Classes list.

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