BCs protest quota cap in Telangana panchayat polls, slam KCR

In December, the Telangana government passed an ordinance that restricted reservations for SC, ST and BCs to a maximum of 50 percent, so that Panchayat Raj polls could be conducted.
BCs protest quota cap in Telangana panchayat polls, slam KCR
BCs protest quota cap in Telangana panchayat polls, slam KCR
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Several leaders of the Backward Class (BC) community in Telangana held a protest in Hyderabad's dharna chowk on Saturday, against the state government's plan to reduce the quota for BCs in the upcoming Panchayat Raj polls from 34 percent to 22.8 percent. Several senior leaders, including Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) chief Kodandram, BC Welfare Association President R Krishnaiah and senior Congress leader Sravan Dasoju, took part in the protest.

Those who had gathered pointed out that the BC community played an active role in the agitation for a separate state with thousands of BC youth making sacrifices for Telangana. “The BCs made several sacrifices with the hope that the community would get social justice in the new state. However, injustice was being done after formation of Telangana and conspiracies are being hatched to crush our political representation," Dasoju, who was recently made the All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson, said while addressing the gathering.

Accusing Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao of misleading the people, the leaders also pointed out that KCR had brought an ordinance without consulting the community leaders in the opposition parties, even though BCs constitute nearly 52% of the population in the state. “KCR is meting out injustice to the BC community and all political parties and associations must join hands to fight against this,” Sravan added.

The BC community in the state has been upset since December when the Telangana government promulgated an ordinance that restricted reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes to a maximum of 50 percent, so that the state could go ahead with conducting Panchayat Raj elections. Governor ESL Narasimhan signed the Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, officially putting this decision into force.

“In pursuance of the judgments of the Supreme Court, the upper ceiling of 50 percent vertical reservations in favour of SCs/STs/OBCs should not be breached in the context of local self-government. Accordingly, the seats and offices to be reserved for Backward Classes shall be so determined duly keeping in view the requirement of reservation in respect of SCs, STs therein, that the total number of seats/offices reserved for the SCs, STs and Backward Classes (BCs) shall not exceed 50 per cent of the total number of seats or as the cases may be, in the respective local bodies, in the manner prescribed," the new ‘Chapter-VIII-A’ inserted in the ordinance stated.

The term of the local bodies in the state had ended on August 1, 2018, but the Telangana government had approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to raise the total quota for the BC communities in the state.

Telangana government had argued that BCs comprise more than 50 percent of the population and they needed 52 percent quota in the local body polls. However, as this would breach the 50 percent ceiling fixed by the apex court, the SC struck down the case.  

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