MP Election 2023: After the public release of caste-based census data in Bihar, the Congress party has openly raised the issue of reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The OBC issue will now play a significant role in the party’s election campaign in Madhya Pradesh.
The discussion is being held among voters. While ensuring 27% reservation in government jobs had already been discussed, now the topic of caste-based census will be discussed among voters in both Parliament and legislative assemblies. Meetings with social organizations have also begun, and the Congress party’s OBC cell is preparing to engage with them.
OBC voters constitute more than 45%
In the state, OBC voters make up more than 45% of the population and play a crucial role in many constituencies. Both issues, whether it’s about job reservations or reservations in local body elections, are being used to corner the Congress party. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been aggressive in attacking Congress on these fronts. Whether it’s about job reservations or reservations in local body elections, both are being used to put pressure on Congress.
Not a new issue for OBCs
The issue of OBC reservations is not new to the state. When the Congress government under the leadership of Kamal Nath came to power, they had amended the rules to ensure 27% reservation in government jobs for OBCs. This amendment was passed in the legislative assembly, but there were discrepancies in counting the OBC population, leading to a legal challenge. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government took office, and in the court, many arguments were made in favor of OBCs, resulting in 27% reservation being implemented for some positions.
The issue of OBC reservations has also been a point of contention in urban local body and panchayat elections, and the government had set up the Madhya Pradesh Backward Class Welfare Commission to study OBC numbers, voters, representation, and other related matters, which submitted a report to the Supreme Court. This led to the benefit of reservations being granted.
BJP Targets Congress
The BJP has been targeting the Congress on both counts, whether it’s in the legislative assembly or on the streets, accusing them of not allowing OBC leadership to rise. While the Congress accused the BJP government of playing politics with the OBC issue when they were in power. Now, with new OBC leadership coming forward, the issue is being pushed ahead in Congress. Leaders like Arun Yadav, Kamleshwar Patel, Jeetu Patwari, Siddharth Kushwaha, and others have been given various responsibilities. They are working on uniting the OBC community under the Congress banner. The membership of Congress is also being offered to a significant number of OBC leaders. OBC leaders from various districts, including Guna, Shivpuri, Ashok Nagar, Sagar, and Nivari, have joined Congress in large numbers. Several constituencies in these districts also have a significant OBC population.