Special Correspondent

Reservation policy comes in the way of the party coming to power in the taluk panchayat

The post of the Sorab Taluk Panchayat President has been reserved for ST woman The only woman candidate to meet this condition is Sumithra of the CongressSituation puts Bangarappa's commitment to Dalits to test

SHIMOGA: The Samajwadi Party led by Shimoga MP and former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa finds itself in a piquant situation in Sorab taluk in Shimoga district.

Though the party has won 12 of the 18 seats in the Sorab Taluk Panchayat, it is not in a position to assume power, thanks to the reservation policy.

According to the list of reservations announced by the Government, the post of the Sorab Taluk Panchayat President has been reserved for a woman from the Scheduled Tribes while the post of the Vice-President has been reserved for candidates from the BCM-A Category.

There is no woman candidate in the Samajwadi Party from the Scheduled Tribes to stake claim for the President's post. The only woman candidate from this category is Sumithra of the Congress, who won from the Barangi constituency.

The Panchayatraj Act lays down that a simple majority is required for any party in the House to occupy the key posts of President and Vice-President. No party fulfils this condition as the Congress has won only four seats while the remaining two seats have been shared by the Janata Dal (S) and an independent. Even if the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) come together along with the independent, they still cannot stake claim for the key posts as they do not have the simple majority of 10 seats in the 18-member body.

The Samajwadi Party has only two options to wriggle out of this position. It will have to support the Congress to enable that party's candidate to occupy the President's post. By doing so, it can bargain for the Vice-President's post and wait till the reservation policy is changed after 30 months.

Otherwise, it will have to ask its members to abstain from voting at the time of the election of the President, paving the way for the Congress to occupy the post. It will then have to defeat the Congress by moving a no-confidence motion in due course of time.

It remains to be seen if Mr. Bangarappa, who claims to be a champion of the Dalits, agrees to such an arrangement, which will deny an opportunity for a Dalit candidate of other party to occupy the coveted President's post. His moves are being closely watched.

However, there is no problem for the Samajwadi Party as far as the Vice-President's post is concerned as it has several candidates who meet the reservation conditions.