MADHYA PRADESH state Congress president Kamal Nath Saturday accused Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his ministers of lying and misleading the state by their assurance that the upcoming panchayat elections will have 35% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC). The truth is that OBC reservation is not more than 9-12%, he said.
State minister Bhupendra Singh countered him, saying it was because of efforts by the BJP government and Chief Minister Chouhan that Madhya Pradesh got the go-ahead from Supreme Court to conduct the panchayat elections with OBC quota.
Speaking to reporters at the state Congress office, Kamal Nath gave the OBC quota breakup. He said for zilla panchayat members, 875 posts (or 11.2%) are reserved; for janpad panchayat chairman posts, it is 313 posts (9.5%); for janpad panchayat members, it is 780 posts (11.5%); and for sarpanch posts, it is 2,820 (12.5%).
He said 19 of the 52 districts will have no OBC quota for zilla panchayat members and 28 districts will have not such quota for janpad panchayat chairman posts.
“This shows that the BJP is not only doing injustice but also misleading the members of our OBC communities,” Kamal Nath said after reading out the numbers.
Targeting Chouhan and his ministers, he said, “Such a big lie, such a big betrayal… Shivraj ji should be ashamed. They are boasting that they are giving 30-35 per cent OBC reservation when the truth is it is 9-12 per cent.”
The former chief minister said when in power, the Congress government brought in the MP Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Awaraj Adhiniyam 1993. According to Sections 30 and 32 of this legislation, the state government is empowered by the Constitution to grant 25% OBC reservation.
State Housing and Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh accused the opposition party of posing legal hurdles for OBC quota. He said both panchayat as well as local body polls were held with OBC reservation, but the Congress went to High Court five times and then to Supreme Court.
“The Congress opposed OBC reservation and it was during this time that Supreme Court nullified OBC reservation in the state. It was because of the BJP government and efforts of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who made all preparations, that Madhya Pradesh became the first state to get go-ahead from Supreme Court for OBC reservation for elections,” he said, referring to the May 19 order.
“When we talk of OBC reservation in MP, there are several places where OBC reserved seats have increased. There might be some places where it reduced also but the Congress had gotten the reservation ended. Whatever reservation we are getting now, is due to efforts of the CM…The fact that elections are being held with OBC reservation is a big achieve of the state government.”
The three-phase panchayat polls will be held from June 25.