Bhopal: As Madhya Pradesh is getting ready for the ensuing Panchayat elections beginning from June 25, the war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress is deepening. MP Congress Committee president Kamal Nath and minister for urban administration and housing Bhupendra Singh Thakur have recently locked horns over giving reservations to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Panchayat elections.
In a tweet, Nath said that although the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to give 35% quota to OBCs in the Panchayat elections, it gave less than 12%. “The Shivraj government of Madhya Pradesh has done great injustice to Other Backward Classes in Panchayat elections,” Nath tweeted.
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“In the 2022 Panchayat elections, the BJP government has given only 11.2% seats to OBC category for elections of district Panchayat members, just 9.5% of the seats for president of Janpad Panchayats and only 11.5% seats for Janpad Panchayat members,” he said.
“Not only this, the OBCs have been given no posts for election of district Panchayat members in 19 districts, no post for Janpad Panchayat presidents in 28 districts and no post for Janpad Panchayat members in 10 districts,” he said. Reacting to Nath’s allegations, Singh said that the BJP government was conducting elections with OBC reservations. But it was the Congress that went to the high court and the Supreme Court and opposed the move.
This was the reason why the Apex Court had directed that the Panchayat and urban civic polls be held without OBC reservations, he said. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made personal efforts and, consequently, the Supreme Court restored reservations for OBCs, the minister said.
Now that the Supreme Court passed an order over the issue on May 10, Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to give reservations to OBCs in Panchayat elections, Singh further said. On the heels of the Supreme Court verdict over the quota for OBCs, both the parties have begun to take credit for it. As it became a bone of contention between the ruling party and the opposition in the state, the Panchayat polls have been pending for several years.
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The State Election Commission announced on Friday the schedule for the Panchayat polls to be held in three phases – on June 25, July 1 and July 8. As the dates for elections have been announced, the Model Code of Conduct has been in place since Friday