NUAPADA: The dawn-to-dusk bandh called by ‘Zilla OBC Manch’ over inadequate representation of Other Backward Castes for different posts in the upcoming Zilla Parishad elections, paralysed normal life in the district on Monday.Banks and financial institutions, government and private offices, business establishments and courts remained closed due to the bandh which was observed in all the five blocks of Nuapada. Vehicular movement was also disrupted within the district as the agitating members of the Manch staged road blockade.
Recently, the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water department had published draft list for reservation of ZP president posts for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), OBC and women in 30 districts of the State. As per the list, four districts have been reserved for OBC, as many for SC and 10 for ST candidates. Nuapada falls under the rest 12 districts which will see candidates from unreserved categories.
The agitators said in previous ZP elections, a fair chance was given to all the castes, especially OBC, which helped them support their candidates fighting for the interest of backwards classes. But since the district is now under the unreserved category, there is a possibility that no OBC candidate might get a chance to contest in the elections. This was unacceptable and a clear violation of fundamental rights, they said.
Convenor of the Manch Birendra Pradhan said, “The move by State government is an injustice towards the OBC community of Nuapada as they will be deprived of their constitutional political rights. We are demanding complete withdrawal of the draft notification published by the government and its revision with inclusion of Nuapada in the list of districts reserved for OBC.”Former MLA Hitesh Bagarti participated in the strike at Khariar.