Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A war of words broke out between the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress in the State Assembly on Thursday after former chief minister and the Leader of Opposition Kamal Nath accused the state Election Commission of issuing confusing notifications regarding the reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Panchayat elections in the state.
As the proceedings of the Assembly began, Nath raised the OBC reservation issue and asked the government to clear its stance.
"Ever since the Supreme Court's order came, the state election commission has been issuing different notifications at different times which are creating confusion. I would request the government to clear its stand on the OBC reservation issue," Nath said.
In response, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who is also Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said that the government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court and a date for hearing on the matter will be fixed by the court soon. After Mishra's statement, MLAs of the Congress accused the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of being anti-OBC. This led to a chaos prompting Speaker Girish Gautam to adjourn the Assembly for 15 minutes.
Since the first day of the winter session of the Assembly (December 20), both the ruling (BJP) and the Opposition (Congress) have been accusing each other of being anti-OBC.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chouhan had stated that the state government should explore legal options against the Supreme Court's December 17 order that stayed polling on all OBC-reserved seats. The ruling follows a similar order by the apex court for the Maharashtra municipal elections.
Chouhan and Nath were arguing over the apex court staying the election on seats reserved for OBC candidates and directed the state election commission to re-notify these as general seats.
The top court passed the order while hearing a plea challenging the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order that accepted an application challenging the validity of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj and Gram Swaraj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 related to reservation and delimitation in MP but refused to stay the elections to the panchayat polls.
The ordinance promulgated on November 21 by the state government had annulled the last rotation on reservation, and decided that the elections would be conducted as per the delimitation and rotation exercise carried out in 2014 by the then BJP government.
Reserved seats are rotated among SCs, STs and women every five years, and the last time this happened was in 2019, when the Nath-led Congress government was in power for 15 months.
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