Other States

OBC body in Madhya Pradesh calls for State-wide ‘bandh’ to demand quota for community in local polls

A polling station in Gwalior. File.

A polling station in Gwalior. File. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

An organisation representing the other backward classes (OBCs) in Madhya Pradesh on Friday gave a call for a State-wide ‘bandh’ on May 21 to press for its demand to provide 27% reservation to the community in the local body polls.

The Pichhada Varg Mahasabha gave this call three days after the Supreme Court directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to notify local body polls in Madhya Pradesh within two weeks without quota for OBCs and observed that until the triple test exercise, mentioned in a Constitution bench verdict of 2010, is completed in all respect, no such reservation can be provisioned.

Talking to reporters, the Mahasabha’s State working president Rakesh Singh Lodhi said, “If even after the May 21 bandh, the State government does not address our concerns, then a powerful nation-wide agitation would be launched.”

The BJP government and the opposition in the state had unanimously passed a resolution in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly (on December 23, 2021) for conducting three-tier panchayat polls with a provision for 27% reservation for OBCs, he said.

“But after the Supreme Court’s decision, the State government is keeping the OBCs off the democratic process,” he alleged.

Mr. Lodhi said that the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in the State are promising 27% reservation to OBCs in their ticket allocation in the polls.

“When there is a double engine government (of the BJP at the Centre and the State), why are efforts not being made to legalise the OBC quota (in 3-tier local bodies elections) through Parliament route?” he asked.

In its order on Tuesday, the apex court observed that election is due in over 23,000 local bodies across Madhya Pradesh.

The Supreme Court said the election process cannot be delayed further as it would result in creating a hiatus situation upon expiry of the five-year term and it is the constitutional obligation of the authorities to hold elections on time.

While hearing the matter earlier, the top court had referred to the Constitution bench verdict of 2010, which had mentioned the triple condition, including setting up a commission to conduct a rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of backwardness qua (with regard to) local bodies within the State, which is required to be followed before provisioning reservation for the OBC category.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 7:29:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/obc-body-in-madhya-pradesh-calls-for-state-wide-bandh-to-demand-quota-for-community-in-local-polls/article65409961.ece