BHUBANESWAR: The ruling BJD on Friday announced to field 27% candidates from other backward classes (OBCs) in the upcoming elections, including Panchayat polls scheduled early next year.
The move by the BJD government comes a couple of days after a delegation of BJD MPs met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at New Delhi and demanded that the Centre should bring a Bill in Parliament to lift the 50% ceiling on the reservation of seats. The MPs also demanded a caste base census to determine the number of SEBCs/OBCs.
“It is a historic day for the people of Odisha, especially those who have been neglected. The BJD has decided to reserve 27% of the party tickets for OBC candidates in Panchayat or any other elections in the state,” Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain told newspersons here.
Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo asked the BJP and Congress, which have been criticising the ruling party for not implementing 27% reservation for OBCs in employment and education, to follow suit if they really cared for this neglected population.
“Due to the cap on the percentage of reservation and as there is no central law to determine it, the BJD has taken a political decision to field 27% SEBC candidates in Panchayat and subsequent polls in the state,” he said.
Criticising the announcement, BJP and Congress asked the ruling party to ensure OBC reservation in education and jobs first.