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TPCC Spokesperson Dr. Sravan Dasoju
TPCC Spokesperson Dr. Sravan Dasoju

PR Polls: Congress demands enumeration of OBC Voters

Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Chief Spokespersons Dr. Dasoju Sravan demanded that the reservation of seats for BCs in the forthcoming Panchayat Raj elections be done in a scientific manner only on the basis of a door-to-door enumeration to get exact figures of voters belonging to backward classes and implement rule of reservation as per A,B,C, D classification among BCs.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Saturday, Sravan said that the OBC population constitutes more than 52%, as per “Samagra Kutumba Survey (SKS)” taken up by Telangana Government in 2014.

However, he said that the OBCs were being denied their due share in socio-economic resources and political opportunities. “The saga of deliberate deprival and denial of justice is apparently being reflected even in forthcoming Panchayat Raj elections.

The New Panchayatraj Act is totally confusing and contradicting the very spirit of 73rd constitutional amendment and subsequent verdicts of High Court of Andhra Pradesh nullifying the OBC reservations,” he said.

Sravan wrote a letter to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the Chief Secretary and Telangana State Commission for Backward Classes Chairman in this regard.

He stated that Telangana, being a new State, should implement 73rd constitutional amendment to establish appropriate democratic processes and precedence.

“The 73rd amendment by incorporation of Article 243D provided for reservation of seats/elected officers to members of the schedule castes, schedule tribes and backward classes of citizens. Article 243 D (6) granted power to the legislature for making provisions for reservation of seats in any Panchayat Raj officers or Chair Persons at Panchayats in any level in favour of backward classes of citizens.

Even prior to these amendments, erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh had made provisions for reservations of seats in favour of backward classes of citizens.

These reservations made before and after the 73rd amendment were reflected in the earlier Panchayat Raj Act of 1966 and the Panchayat Raj Act 1994. The present Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 2018 also provides for such reservations.

Sravan pointed out that these reservations are made in favour of backward classes of citizens have always been challenged due to the unscientific method in which the population of backward classes has been estimated.

And the reservations made on the basis of such unscientific or erroneous methods have resulted in serious challenges before the Honourable High Court of Andhra Pradesh and has also lead to observations being made by the Honourable High Court. He also listed out various cases that were reported from 1987 to 2012.

“The Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 has now been repeated and replaced by the Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 2018. Under the 2018 Act, Section 17 provides for reservation for office of Sarpanch for members of schedule castes, schedule tribes, backward classes and women.

Section 17(7) provides for the manner in which the reservation for backward classes is to be done. The provisions of Section 17 (7) show that for the purposes of determining number of officers of Sarpanches to be reserved for backward classes, the District Collector would have to arrive at this number on the basis of the proportionate percentage of population of backward classes in the State and in the Mandal.

It also provides that the Mandal backward classes percentage is the figure as projected by the directorate of economics and statistics,” he pointed out.

However, Section 13 of the Panchayat Raj act also stipulates that the government shall identify all the backward classes voters as per schedule of not more than 15 days, which shall be issued by the Government.

“In view of the earlier challenges to the fixation of reservation for backward classes especially in view of the faulty methods followed by the State for making such calculations, it is necessary that the provisions of Section 13 are applied properly both in letter and spirit in the new state of Telangana.

Such compliance would require a door to door enumeration of the members of backward classes to ascertain the population of the backward classes.

Any failure to make such enumeration or any faulty enumeration on the basis of cursory surveys or on the basis of simple surveys would not be sufficient for the purpose of Section 13 of the Panchayat Raj Act, 2018,” Sravan said.

Sravan said a door to door enumeration would also clearly show that the backward classes population in Telangana exceeds 52% of the general population.

Therefore, he said reservation for BCs would have to be made in accordance with these figures. “Any estimate or calculation made on extrapolation would only result in injustice to the backward classes as this extrapolation etc.,

would look to reduce the actual population of the backward classes and thereby depriving the backward classes of the reservation that they are entitled to,” he said. (INN)

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