The BJP’s national Other Backward Classes (OBC) Morcha is expected to play an important role in the next General Elections. The party is forming committees down to the booth level in every constituency, with at least five members in each committee, after it successfully created 856 district and 12,000 mandal committees of Backward Classes in the last couple of years.
“For the first time, the country has a BC (Backward Class person) as Prime Minister in Narendra Modi. It is our responsibility to bring OBCs under our party fold and win them over as our government has taken up many schemes for their welfare and development. We have been giving them posts in both the party and government, proportional to their population,” Rajya Sabha MP and the BJP’s national OBC president K. Laxman said.
In an exclusive interaction with The Hindu after the recently concluded national executive meet of the party at Jodhpur, which was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda, Mr. Laxman said the BJP has resolved to take up campaigns, community meetings and exhibitions on its schemes for OBCs to ensure they reach the targeted last mile beneficiaries.
During the Jodhpur meet on September 9 and 10, party members visited 46 mandals in the constituency, which is represented by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who himself belongs to a Backward Class. “Wherever our people went, they could sense resentment against the Congress government due to farmers’ suicides, atrocities against women, and mafia rule,” Mr. Laxman claimed.
The BJP’s national OBC Morcha was constituted in 2015 when Mr. Shah was the party president. The Morcha intends to spread awareness that it was the BJP that secured constitutional status for the National Commission for Backward Classes; and 27% quota implementation in medical education, and Navodaya schools and other Central government institutions for the first time.
“Backward Classes constitute more than 50% of the population and now are major beneficiaries of the ‘Mudra’ scheme, incentives for farmers, gas connections, Ayushman Bharat and others [schemes] in the last eight years. We will expose the duplicity of the Congress party for having cheated these sections since Independence and also the regional ‘family’ parties for paying only lip service with token representations in the government or in the party,” Mr. Laxman said.
The Central Cabinet has 27 OBC Ministers and the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has 22 Ministers from these sections, he said. “We are balancing social justice through social engineering without discrepancy. We do not believe in discriminating against any caste or community. Apart from the BJP, is there any other party which has made a Dalit, Muslim or an Adivasi as the President [of India]? Or even a BC as party president?” he said.
While his government and party is against a nationwide caste-based census, the BJP wants various States to conduct their own respective census exercises, Mr. Laxman said. “There are administrative, legal and technical constraints in not taking up a nationwide census because of caste contradictions of some [castes] being forward in a few States and backward in others,” he claimed. However, he expressed confidence that the categorisation by the Justice Rohini Commission on Backward Classes will help in better distribution of benefits in both education and jobs among the existing castes, once the report is ready.