BENGALURU: Some of the BJP-ruled states have conspired to deny one’s constitutional right of contesting the panchayat polls in the guise of illiteracy, Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, said on Thursday.
The legislation brought by the BJP-ruled Rajasthan and Haryana governments, stipulating minimum educational qualification to contest the panchayat polls, was to deny over 50 per cent of the population from participating in the process, he told reporters.
He said it is the responsibility of an elected government to empower people by providing facilities for education. “Bringing legislation to bar someone is nothing but denial of the rights of a citizen guaranteed by the Constitution,” he added.
The BJP’s “hidden agenda” of denying opportunities to women and oppressed classes can be seen in the Haryana state government’s legislation, he said. Kharge also did not rule out the possibility of seeking a revision of the Supreme Court’s ruling in this direction.
“The Constitution has provided unconstrained rights to the citizens of the country to participate in the elections, and the BJP wants to tweak this.”
“In both Haryana and Rajasthan, more than 50 per cent women and people from oppressed classes cannot contest the panchayat polls,” he said. “It is nothing but an attempt to deny political space to a section of society.”
Referring to the recent statements of BJP and RSS leaders over the continuation of the reservation, he said, “This reflects the real design of the Sangh Parivar regarding the rights guaranteed unde the Constitution.”
On the Karnataka government’s proposed legislation making it mandatory for all to participate in the elections, he said it is evident that while Congress propagates pro-people and pro-constitutional measures, the BJP is doing the opposite.
Kharge also said the aggressive pro-people policies being implemented by the state government will help Congress garner maximum number of seats in the December-27 MLC elections.
He complimented the state government for its pro-active measures to empower grassroots democratic institutions like like zilla, taluk and village panchayats.