Bhubaneswar: In a master stroke ahead of Panchayat Polls, the Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday announced that it is going to file at least 27 per cent OBC candidates in the upcoming three-tier Panchayat polls in the State.
Party President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken the decision for 27 per cent reservation for candidates belonging to the Socially & Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) in the upcoming Panchayat polls and other elections in the State.
The decision was announced by two Cabinet Ministers and BJD leaders Ranendra Pratap Swain and Arun Sahoo at a press conference here.
“It is a historic day for the people of Odisha, especially those who have been neglected. The BJD has decided to reserve 27 percent of its tickets for SEBC candidates in Panchayat or any other elections in the State,” said Mr.Swain.
BJD will be the first political party in the country to give such reservations. BJD’s move will certainly pave way to ensure social justice as party MPs have been fighting since long for caste-based census, he said.
“Due to the 50 per cent cap directive by the Supreme Court and as there hasn’t been any central law to determine reservations, the BJD has taken a political decision to field 27 per cent SEBC candidates in Panchayat and subsequent polls in the state,” said Dr Sahoo.
Ahead of the 2019 General Election, the ruling party had decided to reserve 33 per cent of the tickets for women candidates in Lok Sabha polls, which was accepted by various parties nationwide, he said.
Dr.Sahoo also took a dig at the Opposition BJP and Congress parties and asked those to follow suit, if they really care for this neglected population.
Reacting to the BJD’s move, senior BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, “If the BJD really wants to respect OBC reservation, it should first announce reservation for them in education and employment. Roping in OBC candidates for election is an internal affair of BJD.”
However, the fact remains that the State Government has not taken any step to implement 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in education and employment so far, he added
Two days ago, a delegation of BJD MPs had recently met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and demanded for a Central law that removes the 50 per cent cap on reservations as fixed by the Supreme Court.
The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2008 has provision of 27 per cent reservation of posts and services for people belonging to this category. However, due to several court orders, the law cannot be implemented in the State.
As present, as the SC has made a 50 per cent cap for the reservation of various posts and seats, only 11.25 per cent reservation is being given to the OBC in the State. Because, 39 per cent of the State’s population belongs to SC and ST.