OBC Reservation Bill: 27% Quota in Local Bodies, Significant Allotments in Various Tiers

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, BJP made a masterstroke. Today, the Gujarat State Government has introduced the Gujarat Local Governance Amendment Bill 2023. This bill, if passed, will allocate 27% reservation in local self-government institutions. In Gujarat, over 50% of the population comes from the OBC community. When this bill is passed in the legislative assembly before the Lok Sabha elections, BJP aims to secure the support of nearly half of Gujarat’s population.

When the bill is passed, there will be 181 reserved seats for OBCs in 8 municipalities, whereas the estimated number of reserved seats in 33 district panchayats, which was previously 105, will now increase to 206. In taluka panchayats, there will be 906 reserved seats, and in gram panchayats, there will be 22,617 reserved seats for OBCs. Additionally, 156 municipal corporations will have 1,270 reserved seats for the OBC community.

In 1993, when the bill was being discussed, our party had strongly advocated for it. At the time, Minister Rishikesh Patel had launched a scathing attack on the Congress. He revealed that the Bakshi Commission was formed on December 20, 1972, and had recommended providing reservation to 82 castes. This recommendation was postponed by the Madhavsinh government. Subsequently, the Janata Dal government implemented the decision to provide reservation from April 1, 1978. From June 7, 1980, to March 30, 1985, during the Madhavsinh government, no action was taken. In 1993, when legislators were introduced in the assembly, our party was the one that wholeheartedly supported and pushed for the bill.

The Congress has a negative history when it comes to OBCs, whereas the BJP has a positive track record. OBC reservations in educational institutions began in India in 2006. On April 10, 2008, the Supreme Court deemed the 20% reservation for OBCs as valid. In 2014, the Gujarat BJP government made a significant decision by providing 50% reservation for women in local self-government institutions.

If a Report hasn’t been Submitted within 90 days, it means We are Prolonging the issue.

Congress leader Amit Chavda revealed that Prime Minister Modi is distancing himself from the OBC community, which is a matter of concern. When the BJP has been in power for 30 years, why hasn’t the reservation percentage increased? Why haven’t they raised the quota? In 2022, the Supreme Court gave its verdict, and after that, the government decided to increase the reservation. After conducting a study for 90 days, the commission will submit its report, and immediate action will be taken based on the report. There was an office inside a bungalow where there was no administration, and the work of managing the housing of 52% of Gujarat’s OBC community was being carried out there.

Congress had Hoped that Local Self-Government Elections Would be Held Promptly.

The Commission dedicated to this task reached out to the people through public hearings. It was revealed that 19% of Ahmedabad’s population belongs to OBCs. However, the Commission accepted this fact, took birth certificates, and conducted income verification, including checking all passports. Congress had expected that local self-government elections would be held soon, but the elections did not take place due to the delay in the report and the officials’ reluctance to proceed. According to the rules, a reservation of more than 6 months is not permissible, and despite our occasional requests, the report did not arrive. The Minister of Social Justice and Rights indicated that it would be available in a few days. However, when we visited the Jhaveri Commission, we learned that the report was ready, but the government had not requested it. We will demand that the report be submitted to the government at that time.

The Government has not Convened any Meetings or Committees to Study the Report.

We have submitted a request to the Governor, and we express our gratitude to him for submitting our request. After we submitted the request to the Governor, the government immediately requested the report. Even after the report arrived on April 13, the local self-government elections did not take place by August. The government has not convened any meetings or committees to study the report.

If the bill had been presented to the public before being introduced in the house, it would have been better. Government officials are currently working as election officers. Congress had conducted the ‘Swabhiman Andolan’ (self-respect movement) and on the following day, the government formed a committee immediately and conducted a study within a day. On August 29th, the government announced 27% reservation for OBCs. The state government has not yet conducted a population count using the unit method. If the bill had been presented to the public before being introduced in the house, it would have been better, as the public would have seen whether the Jhaveri Commission’s recommendations are beneficial. It remains to be seen whether the government has implemented it or not.

The Government has been Unjust to the OBC Community for the last 30 years.

According to the report by the Jhaveri Commission, the average population of OBCs in the state’s 8 municipalities is 40%. In municipal corporations, the OBC population is 53%, except for districts under the PESA Act, where it is 54%. These are the average population figures. As per the Supreme Court’s guidelines, reservation should be granted based on population figures. People who are breaking bangles (an expression indicating frustration) do not know that this will affect their future. This issue is not for political purposes. The party with a majority will pass the bill, but it will have to be submitted in court. After the clearance, the government will have to reintroduce the bill in the house. The OBC community faces injustice not only in politics but also in the budget.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.