BJD Throws The Ball Back In BJP’s Court Over Quota For OBC, SEBC

13 January 2020

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today put the ball back in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) court over reservations to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes(SEBC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in government jobs and educational institutions.

The BJD appealed to the BJP to use their good offices with the Centre, since their party is in power for releasing community base data of Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 to facilitate reservation for SEBCs and OBCs in government jobs and educational institutions.

"Since their party is in power at the Centre I request my BJP friends instead of entering into a war of words they should pressurise the Central government to release community-based data of SECC 2011 and provide suitable columns in the General Census 2021 or provide an additional sheet to capture caste-based data," stated Sasmit Patra, BJD spokesperson speaking to media persons here.

Patra further appealed to the BJP to support the BJD’s endeavour in this regard and facilitate early implementation of reservation for SEBCs and OBCs by the State government.

The BJD spokesperson clarified that the State government is in favour of providing reservations to OBCs but there is a bar from the court that reservations cannot exceed 50% in totality and hence the need to submit caste-related data to the court was felt.

"It is unfortunate that the Central government is yet to release community-based data of SECC 2011," he said.                  

Patra pointed out that the last Caste Census was conducted in 1931 and later in SECC 2011 caste details were collected.

"We are seeking the data collected by Central government in 2011. Where is the problem in providing that data? Does that data have any political basis? Or is the data that the Central government will collect in the forthcoming 2021 Census have any political basis? If no, then how come seeking insertion of a few additional columns in the Census 2021 format or an additional sheet for capturing caste data mean politics?" the BJD spokesperson queried while responding to reporters on the accusation of the BJP that BJD was for capture of caste data to usurp welfare programmes in favour of its party men.

Earlier in the day, the BJP alleged that if the State government is allowed for Socio-Economic Caste Enumeration it will politicize it.

"If the State government is allowed to prepare such a list, it will reality politicize it. Secondly, the State government which is now citing the various provisions of the Indian Constitution in favour of its move which it had forgotten in the last 20 years. As a consequence of that the State government has stalled the prospects of the OBC and SEBC people in the matter of education and jobs. Thirdly, despite a notification in 1993, the government is yet to appoint an OBC Commissioner," alleged BJP State unit general secretary Pruthviraj Harichandan addressing a presser here.

Harichandan warned that the BJP will be forced to take to the path of agitation both inside and outside the Assembly if the State government fails to appoint an OBC Commissioner and provide 27% reservation to OBCs as in other States before commencement of the next session of the Odisha Assembly.

The Odisha Cabinet had on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution to move the Centre to conduct a Socio-Economic Caste Enumeration simultaneously along with the General Census in 2021.

Sasmit Patra, Spokesperson, BJD

Pruthviraj Harichandan, General Secretary, BJP, Odisha