Odisha’s ruling BJD announces 27 per cent quota for OBC candidates in all state polls

Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) announced 27 per cent reservation for candidates belonging to the Socially & Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) in state elections.

To reach out to OBC voters ahead of next year’s panchayat polls, Odisha’s ruling BJD announced 27 per cent reservation for candidates belonging to the Socially & Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) in state elections.

A proposal by the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes (OSCBC) was approved on February 26 to survey the social and educational conditions of the people belonging to backward classes.

The survey was conducted between May 1 and June 20.

The state government had earlier approached the Centre demanding a socio-economic caste survey simultaneously with the general census in 2021. But that proposal was turned down by the Centre, following which the Odisha government in 2020 decided to conduct its survey.

“It is a historic day for the people of Odisha as the ruling BJD has decided to reserve 27 per cent of party tickets for socially and educationally backward candidates in all elections, including the ensuing panchayat polls. With this, BJD will be the first party in the country to give reservations to OBC candidates,” said Food Supplies Minister Ranendra Swain.

The decision has been taken by BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, he said.

The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2008, has a provision of reservation of posts and services for people belonging to this category.

Earlier Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in January, during his tenure as Union Petroleum Minister, wrote to the Odisha CM pointing that it has been a long-standing demand that OBCs be provided reservation in employment and education. Now Pradhan is the Union Education Minister.

Pradhan on Wednesday (August 11, 2021) attacked the BJD government for not implementing a 27 per cent quota for other backward classes (OBC) in the state. Participating in a debate of the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Pradhan said that Odisha is the only state that has not provided the due to the OBC despite having its list of SEBCs.

The State BJP general secretary said if the state government wants to respect OBC reservation, it should first announce reservation for them in education and employment. Roping in OBC candidates for elections is an internal affair of the BJD, he said.

Rajya Sabha MP Amar Patnaik took to Twitter and wrote, “I wholeheartedly welcome Naveen_Odisha’s decision to nominate 27% candidates from OBC in all forthcoming elections starting from the next Panchayat elections. Once again, historic, taking empowerment of OBCs to the next level- political empowerment. No lip service!”

Source: India Today

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