‘Hold polls to ZP and TP on basis of existing data on backward classes’

Former Minister H.C. Mahadevappa on Saturday urged the State Government to hold the long-delayed elections to Zilla and Taluk Panchayats on the basis of existing reports and recommendations that determine backwardness and proportion of reservation to backward classes in the State.

Reacting to Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K.S. Eshwarappa’s statement that elections to the local bodies were unlikely to be held before the Assembly elections next year in view of the recent Supreme Court direction on the need for “triple test” criteria to justify political reservation to Other Backward Classes, Mr. Mahadevappa said several reports and recommendations had already been submitted by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission that determine the backwardness and proportion of reservation for backward classes in the State.

Apart from the recommendations of the Commission, a report had also been submitted on the caste census conducted by the previous Government headed by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Though elections to Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat should have been held about a year ago in 2021, the BJP Government in the State had put them off on grounds of conducting a delimitation exercise of the constituencies. Now, the Government was citing the Supreme Court directions in the case of reservation to backward classes in local bodies of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh as a reason to further put off the long-overdue elections in Karnataka.

In the case, the triple test criteria set forth by the Supreme Court includes determining the backwardness and proportion of reservation through a dedicated backward classes commission, besides limiting the reservation to 50 per cent.

Mr Mahadevappa, meanwhile, accused the BJP of conspiring against the concept of social justice and decentralisation of power. Though the political reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and backward classes was provided after the 73rd and 74th amendment to the Constitution during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the saffron party was always opposed to the idea, he alleged. “It is the hidden agenda of RSS and BJP to deny social justice”, he said.

Without such political reservation in the local bodies, which espoused the cause of building political leadership in rural areas, Mr Mahadevappa wondered how a candidate from a microscopic minority community can even consider contesting from general constituencies and triumphing.

He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also belongs to backward classes, to immediately step in the matter and set it right. Or else, history will not forgive Mr. Modi, Mr Mahadevappa said.

To a question, Mr. Mahadevappa said Mr. Modi should immediately order a caste census in the entire country. A caste census has already been held in Karnataka, but the such an exercise was necessary at the national level, he said.

Simha criticised

Mr. Mahadevappa criticised Mysuru MP Pratap Simha for suggesting that the Tipu Express be renamed as Wadiyar Express. “There are several problems facing the country and the State. Nothing can be achieved through change of name”, he said.

While he sought to make it clear that Tipu Sultan was a freedom fighter, who fought against the British imperialism, Mr. Mahadevappa also acknowledged the contributions made by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar to the region.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 2:35:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hold-polls-to-zp-and-tp-on-basis-of-existing-data-on-backward-classes/article38419909.ece