A delegation of the Odisha BJP, including three legislators, on Wednesday sought the intervention of Governor Ganeshi Lal for reservation of seats for the OBC community in the upcoming Panchayat elections in the state.
A memorandum signed by BJP MLAs Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, Mukesh Mahaling and Sanatan Bijuli was submitted to the Governor to press their demand.
Even though about 54 per cent of the state’s population belongs to the OBC category, the state government deprived them by not giving reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), said Mohapatra.
“We have requested the Governor not to hold the three-tier Panchayat elections until reservation of seats for OBC in the rural bodies is made,” he said.
In their memorandum, the BJP legislators said the Constitution mandates advancement and adequate representation of the 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.
However, the move of the Odisha government to proceed with the panchayat elections without reservation to OBCs is strictly contrary to the object, intent and purpose of the constitutional scheme of advancement and adequate representation of OBCs, they alleged.
“It is quite unfortunate that Odisha government is actively pursuing to conduct the Panchayat elections without reservations to OBCs, such an election would deprive the persons belonging to OBC community for five long years which by no stretch of logic can be said to be a short period, causing grave prejudices to the backward classes,” read the memorandum.
Stating that a similar matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court, the BJP lawmakers said the union government, being concerned of the matter, has already filed a review petition before the Supreme Court on December 27 to allow political reservation of OBCs in the local bodies/municipal corporations for the time being till the states comply with the triple test criteria.
The MLAs requested the Governor to take up the issue with the State Election Commission (SEC) in order to ensure Panchayat elections are held by ensuring reservations to OBCs through the constitutional mechanism.