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BJD to field 27 pc OBC candidates in all elections

Odisha's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday announced that it is going to field at least 27 per cent OBC candidates in the upcoming panchayat polls and other subsequent elections in the state.

BJD to field 27 pc OBC candidates in all elections
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (File Photo)

Senior BJD leaders and state ministers Arun Sahoo and Ranendra Pratap Swain announced the Naveen Patnaik-led party's decision at a press conference here. 

"Our President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken the decision to field at least 27 per cent candidates belonging to the other backward classes (OBC) in the upcoming three-tier panchayat polls and other elections in the state," said Sahoo. 

The BJD has taken this political decision due to the 50 per cent cap directive by the Supreme Court and as there hasn't been any central law to determine reservations, he added. 

Swain said the the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2008 has provision for reservation of posts and services for OBCs, but the quota has not been implemented as courts have given directives to provide reservation as per their population ratio, he said. 

As the Census is not on the basis of caste yet, it makes it difficult for the government to arrive at an accurate percentage of OBC population in the state, the minister added. 

Sahoo also took a dig at the Opposition BJP and Congress parties and asked those to follow suit, if they really care for this neglected population. 

Reacting to the BJD's move, senior BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said: "If the BJD really wants to respect OBC reservation, the state government should first announce reservation for them in education and employment. Roping in OBC candidates for election is an internal affair of the BJD." 

Two days ago, a delegation of BJD MPs had recently met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and demanded a Central law that removes the 50 per cent cap on reservations as fixed by the Supreme Court. 

At present, only 11.25 per cent reservation is being given to the OBC category people in the education and employment sectors in the state. 

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