BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition BJP and Congress hit out at the BJD for announcing to field 27 per cent candidates from other backward classes (OBCs) in the forthcoming elections to the three-tier panchayati raj institutions while denying similar quota benefits in government jobs and education, on Friday.
Dubbing the BJD announcement as another political gimmick, president of BJP OBC Morcha Surath Biswal said this is an attempt to divert the attention of the people from its failure to provide justice to the majority backward castes of the State.
"The BJP had fielded 51 OBC candidates in the 2019 Assembly election and this constituted 35 pc of the total 147 seats in the Legislative Assembly. My party had never made it a caste based election issue," Biswal said.
If the BJD is so concerned about the welfare of the OBCs, it must demonstrate its intent by enhancing the quota from the existing 11.25 pc to 27 pc as implemented by the Centre and many other states, he said.
The Congress leaders, on the other hand, said the BJD should earmark one of the two posts, either Chief Minister or BJD president, for an OBC candidate as the posts are with one person for more than two decades.
Criticising the government for depriving students belonging to OBCs from their constitutional rights for the last two decades, the OPCC alleged that the BJD has announced reservation keeping an eye on the panchayat polls.