The reservation of seats for backward classes has reduced in the upcoming three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha likely to be held early next year.
The drop in the quota has come to light after the State Election Commission (SEC) of Odisha released the district-wise reservation of Zilla Parishad member for the rural polls.
As per the list, there are 104 seats reserved for Backward Class Citizens (BCC) and Backward Class Citizens Women (BCCW) in the Zilla Parishad polls. In 2017 election, 236 seats were reserved for the Backward Class Citizens (BCC). While OBC reservation was 27 per cent in 2017, it has reportedly reduced to 12 per cent now.
As per the list released by the SEC, no seat has been reserved for backward class in 14 districts of the State. Similarly, there is only one seat reserved for backward class in Boudh district while two seats are reserved for the category in Subarnapur district.
It is observed that the seats for OBC has not been reserved in many districts where Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996 has been enforced. Similarly, the reservation has also declined in Jharsuguda and Nuapada thpugh those do not come under the category of PESA or partial PESA districts.
The Opposition BJP and Congress have alleged that the State government has ignored the OBCs while reserving seats for the category.
“The government is doing conspiracy and hoodwinking the OBCs. The OBCs have lost 126 seats compared to the previous election and reservation of seats has reduced to 12 per cent. We will draw the attention of the national OBC commission in this regard, ”said State BJP OBC Front President Surath Biswal.
Senior Congress leader Ananta Sethi said, “The government has failed to provide reservation to the OBCs. It will create a protest in the mind of the OBCs. Justice must be provided to them otherwise they will give a befitting reply to the government in the upcoming elections.”
Meanwhile, BJD said the party would provide 27 per cent reservation to OBC candidates while giving tickets for the elections.
“The reservation of seats have been made as per law. Our party has decided to provide 27 per cent seats to candidates belonging to the OBC category,” said BJD MLA Prasanta Muduli.