The ruling BJP and opposition Congress on Wednesday announced, separately, that they will field 27 per cent of candidates from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in the coming local body elections in Madhya Pradesh.
The announcements followed the Supreme Court’s direction to the authorities to notify the schedule of these elections within two weeks without OBC reservation.
While Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that a review petition will be filed in the Supreme Court against the ruling, Congress accused the BJP of depriving the OBCs of quota in elections.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that until the ‘triple test exercise’, as specified in a constitution bench verdict of 2010, was completed, no reservation can be provided for the Other Backward Classes.
State Congress Chief Kamal Nath said on Wednesday that the BJP government in the state did not make any efforts in the last two years to ensure reservation for the OBCs.
“The constitution could have been amended so that OBCs get the benefit of reservation, but they did not take any action, resulting in the SC decision. Congress has decided to give 27 per cent tickets to OBCs in the upcoming local body elections,” the former chief minister said.
State BJP chief V D Sharma claimed that it was Congress leaders who moved the Supreme Court and stood in the way of OBC quota.
“The BJP government in the state will file a review petition. The BJP will also field 27 per cent or more (OBC) candidates in the upcoming local body polls. More than 27 per cent OBC candidates will be fielded in Panchayat polls,” he said.
Chief Minister Chouhan was talking to constitutional experts and lawyers to ensure a quota for the OBCs, he added.
Congress MLAs Sajjan Singh Verma, Kamleshwar Patel and PC Sharma demanded at a press conference that a special session of the Assembly be held to pass a resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to provide the OBC reservation, and it be sent to the Centre.
The Supreme Court in its order said the election process cannot be delayed as it would result in a hiatus situation upon the expiry of the five-year term of local bodies, and it is the constitutional obligation of the authorities to hold elections on time.
Chief Minister Chouhan on Wednesday cancelled his investment promotion meetings scheduled in London and New York next week, saying his presence was required in the state in the wake of recent developments relating to local body elections.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)