Bhubaneswar: Dubbing Odisha’s ruling BJD government as “anti-OBC”, opposition BJP Saturday decided to launch a statewide signature campaign and stage demonstrations demanding reservation in the upcoming panchayat elections.
The BJP is protesting the state government’s move to go for the panchayat elections without making provision for OBC reservation.
“The state government is deliberately neglecting the people from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for its vested interests. OBCs, who constitute 54 per cent of the state’s population, are being denied their constitutional rights,” BJP OBC Morcha president Surath Biswal told reporters.
“We will launch a signature campaign and stage demonstrations before the collectorates and block offices in all the districts. The signatures collected till January 8 from the people supporting the OBC quota will be given to the governor,” he said.
Biswal said that Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments moved the Supreme Court to press for the OBC reservation in panchayat elections but the Odisha government remained complacent on the matter.
A delegation of BJP lawmakers had earlier met Governor Ganeshi Lal and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention into the matter. They demanded that the panchayat elections be held only after making provision of reservation for the OBCs.
Congress and Samajwadi Party have also made a similar demand.
The ruling BJD, however, said that the state government could not make provision of quota for OBCs due to certain legal obstacles. However, the party has announced to give 40 per cent seats to OBC candidates in rural and urban polls likely to be held this year.