Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: As the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes (OSCBC) is all set to conduct a survey on the social and educational conditions of people belonging to the community from May 1, the Opposition on Monday termed the government's move as vote bank politics.

The OBC commission chairperson Justice Raghunath Biswal held a meeting at its new office which became functional today and prepared a roadmap for the survey.

As per sources, a database will also be prepared on the present conditions of people belonging to the OBC community. The commission will exclude those from the OBC list who have already developed in socio-economic parameters and include those deserving people who have not found mention in the list.

The survey process will begin on the first week of May and conclude in June. The first draft list of the OBC community will be released on June 1 and objections will be invited till June 5. The commission is expected to come up with the final list by June 11.

Decision has also been taken on digitisation of all the data of the survey. The State Chief Secretary will soon hold a meeting with secretaries. Besides, a meeting will be held with the district collectors and the format of the form for the survey will be finalised.

"Survey will be conducted on the social and educational conditions of the people belonging to backward classes. Their occupation, education standard and other parameters will be covered under the survey," Justice Raghunath Biswal said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition questioned the conduct of the survey in the fifth term of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and alleged that the CM is planning to play vote politics as backward class makes up a major part of the population in the State.

"Keeping in mind the upcoming panchayat elections, the survey is being conducted. This is caste politics to grab the votes of the backward classes," said Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

The BJP also slammed the government and questioned why it has not implemented 27 per cent reservation for the OBC.

"The State government always does vote bank politics, sometime with women and sometime with backward classes. While there is provision for reservation of 27 per cent people from backward classes, the government has not implemented it. Now it is trying to mislead another group of people with the survey," said BJP state general secretary, Lekhashree Samantsinghar.

Reacting to the allegations, BJD MLA Amar Satpathy said, "There is legal provision to conduct survey of people belonging to backward class and a retired judge has been appointed to conduct the same. It is a democratic process. Elections will come and go, but things which are as per the democratic process, should be implemented."

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)