The issue of OBC candidature took centre stage in the State politics during the recently concluded rural and urban polls in Odisha. While the Opposition tried to corner the Odisha government over lack of reservation for the other backward classes (OBCs) in the elections, the ruling BJD seemed to play on the defensive.
Urban body polls were held in the State in March-April this year after a delay of more than two years. But, this time too, there was no reservations of seats for OBCs.
However, now that the Supreme Court has allowed Madhya Pradesh to go-ahead with OBC reservation for local body polls in the State, the Opposition BJP has once again raised the issue raising concerns that the OBCs are being misled and cheated in Odisha.
BJP State OBC Cell president Surath Biswal said the State government had told Orissa High Court ahead of the ULB polls that it has no data regarding the OBC population even though 54 per cent of the State’s population or around 2.5 crore people belong to the same category.
As the SC judgment on OBC reservation in MP local body poll was on the basis of the recommendations in a second report of a state backward classes Commission, Biswal asked the Odisha government to clarify the role of the OBC Commission in the State.
“OBCs in the State were deprived of their legitimate rights. But the OBC Commission n the State is seen nowhere. What is the Commission doing? Is the Odisha government serious about the interest of OBCs in the State?” Biswal asked.
Ridiculing the Naveen Patnaik government, Congress spokesperson Manoj Mohapatra said the State government is sitting silently by just filing a case in the Supreme Court on reservation for OBCs.
“Is the State safeguarding the interest of OBCs? If Madhya Pradesh government could fight for the interest of their people and provide them their legitimate rights, what is obstructing the Odisha government…The ruling government should answer to people,” said Mohapatra.