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Published On:30 January 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Steep drop in representation for OBCs, minorities in panchayats

By Rishikesh Bahadur Desai

MLC plans to approach Karnataka High Court seeking annulment of ZP, TP polls

Bidar: The State Government's Ordinance limiting political reservation in panchayat bodies to 50 per cent has not only reduced seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) but has also decreased the number of minority members in the rural local bodies.

A study of the zilla and taluk panchayat election results available on the State Election Commission's website, www.karsec.gov.in, reveals that OBC seats have been cut by nearly half.

The number of members in the 30 zilla panchayats is 1,013 and those in the 176 taluk panchayats is 3,659.

ZP seats

While the zilla panchayats had over 40 per cent OBCs after the 2005 elections, they now have only 22 per cent. What is more, the quota available to these communities in the State is not uniform.

Large variation

There is a large variation in the number and proportion of OBCs in the zilla panchayats.

In Raichur, there were 12 OBC seats in 2005. Now there are two.

In Mysore, there were 15 OBC seats five years ago. Now there are seven.

OBCs have less than 10 per cent representation in the zilla panchayats of Raichur, Chickballapur, Bellary, Chitradurga and Bidar.

In five other zilla panchayats, OBC representation does not cross 20 per cent. They are Davangere, Kolar, Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Yadgir.

Only six zilla panchayats have retained around 33 per cent reservation for OBCs as in 2005. They are Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Mandya, Belgaum and Dharwad.

TP seats

Among taluk panchayats, OBCs have less than 15 per cent reservation in 50 taluks, and nearly 30 per cent representation in another 56 taluks. There are 10 taluk panchayats that have no OBC member.

In another 50 taluks, the proportion of OBCs ranges from 15 to 30 per cent.

Similar is the impact on minority seats. There is not a single minority member in 19 zilla panchayats and 100 taluk panchayats. All the 30 zilla panchayats together have just 16 members of minority communities.

Similarly, the number of minority members adds up to 106 in the 176 taluk panchayats.

The representation of minorities in five years has fallen from 4 to 1.7 per cent in zilla panchayats and from 6 to 2.7 per cent in taluk panchayats.

‘Injustice'

“This is a clear instance of the BJP Government harming the interests of minorities and OBCs,” says Congress MLC Qazi Arshad Ali.

In some districts, there political rights have been denied to OBCs and minorities, and in over half of the districts their quotas have been reduced by half. This is gross injustice,” he said.

He plans to approach the Karnataka High Court seeking annulment of the zilla and taluk panchayat polls.

‘Unconstitutional'

“In the Dr. Krishnamurthy case, the High Court asked the Government to find out who were the most politically backward classes and castes in the State and provide them quotas in panchayats. The court also pointed out that the list of OBCs requiring political reservation should be different from the one requiring reservation in education and employment. These instructions have not been carried out. Therefore, the election process is unconstitutional and illegal,” Mr. Ali said.

“We cannot imagine a bigger injustice to the backward classes,” says the former Chairman of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission C.S. Dwarakanath.

“Such denial of constitutional rights can have a long-term negative impact on the political empowerment of backward classes. A legal challenge to the poll process can definitely be explored,” Mr. Dwarakanath added. (Courtesy: The Hindu)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on January 30, 2011. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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