BHUBANESWAR: The BJP on Wednesday sought the intervention of Governor Ganeshi Lal and State Election Commission for reservation of seats for other backward classes (OBC) in the upcoming panchayat elections in the State.
A delegation of BJP met the Governor and submitted a memorandum objecting to the State government's move of going ahead with the panchayat polls without reservation for OBCs.
The party said the Constitution mandates advancement and adequate representation of SC, ST and OBCs. Adequate representation of OBCs in local self-government is one of the objectives, intent and purpose of the very idea of decentralisation of power and taking governance to the grassroots level, the memorandum said.
It stated that the State government had initiated the election process by releasing draft reservation list for zilla parishad on December 27 followed by panchayat samitis and sarpanchs on December 29. Such move is contrary to the object, intent and purpose of the Constitutional scheme of advancement and adequate representation of OBCs, the memorandum said. The party added that it is unfortunate that the State government is actively engaged in conducting the panchayat elections without reservation for OBCs.
"The State government's move will deprive around 54 per cent of the State’s population of their Constitutional right of getting 27 per cent reservation in rural bodies," said BJP MLA Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.
The party urged the Governor not to allow the three-tier panchayat elections until 27 per cent of the total seats in panchayati raj institutions are reserved. Stating that the original case relating to OBC reservation is sub-judice in the Supreme Court, the BJP lawmakers said the Centre had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court on December 27 to allow reservation of OBCs in the local and urban bodies for the time being till the states comply with the ‘triple test’ criteria.
The saffron party leaders requested the Governor to take up the issue with the State Election Commission (SEC) in order to ensure the elections are held while ensuring reservation to OBCs through the Constitutional mechanism. The delegation also met State Election Commissioner Aditya Padhi over the matter.