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Cong govt faces OBC quota challenge in local body polls | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Though the government has expedited the process of delimitation of constituencies and wards to hold the zilla panchayat, taluk panchayat and BBMP polls, it faces an uphill task in terms of determining seats to be reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
With a series of legal battles lined up this week, the ruling party has to address the fault lines over reservation, especially with the new dissident faction demanding the government ensure proper representation for OBCs in local bodies before conducting these polls. “Social justice doesn’t make sense unless the unrepresented communities are given due share in administration. This can be ensured by local bodies by providing quota to OBCs proportionate to their population. There is a conspiracy to undermine the OBCs by denying quota to them. The government shouldn’t allow this to succeed,” said Congress functionary BK Hariprasad.
To reap the benefits of the favourable response to its guarantee schemes, the Congress wants to ensure ZP-TP and BBMP polls are held at the earliest. The party wants to carry forward the momentum building in its favour to next year’s Lok Sabha polls. Now that it has received public objections, it’s in the process of issuing the final notification of delimitation of BBMP wards. It had published the draft notification of delimitation of ZP-TP constituencies and asked people to send objections on or before September 19.
While there is resistance from opposition parties to delimitation of BBMP wards – the number of wards has been reduced from 243 to 225 – dissent is said to be brewing over the ZP-TP constituency delimitation too. The number of ZP constituencies has increased from 1,093 to 1,118 and that of TP from 3,285 to 3,672. However, the main challenge is fixing reservation. While the Supreme Court has mandated the production of empirical data to justify quota to OBCs in BBMP, the government is set to submit before the court that it will finalise the quota roster based on Justice Bhaktavatsala Commission’s report submitted in July. The SC has tentatively listed the case for Friday (September 15). “The Bhaktavatsala Commission has recommended 33% reservation for OBCs after reclassifying the castes into four categories. While this justified a political quota, we will convince the court on this,” said advocate-general Shashikiran Shetty.
Earlier, the OBCs were classified into two categories for political reservation and Justice Bhaktavatsala said: “If it takes time to amend rules to accept my final report, the way out is to conduct elections with two categories for now and implement the four for the next election.”
Starting June 28, the HC gave 12 weeks to decide delimitation of reservation for ZP-TP polls. For BBMP, the court allowed 12 weeks from June 19. Both cases may come before the court on September 19.

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