In what the BJP is touting as a “major announcement”, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Jagat Prakash Nadda on Tuesday promised to include all the ‘left out’ Hindu castes like ‘Mahisya’ and ‘Teli’ in the OBC list if voted to power in Bengal.
While addressing a public meeting in Kotulpur in Bankura district in West Bengal, Nadda said, “Mamata ji is indulging in appeasement politics to retain her chair in Bengal. It is unfortunate that because of her appeasement politics, many left out Hindu castes communities like ‘Mahisya’ and ‘Teli’ were deprived of OBC status in Bengal.”
“I would like to assure those who were left out that we will constitute a commission and recommend their inclusion in the OBC category.”
Commending Nadda’s announcement, Amit Malviya, national in-charge of BJP’s Information and Technology department and co-incharge of West Bengal, tweeted, “Big announcement by BJP national president J P Nadda regarding inclusion of left out Hindu castes in the OBC (Mahisya, Teli etc) list in Bengal… The BJP government will constitute a commission and recommend their inclusion, he said. Pishi denied them this reservation for a decade.”
The Mandal Commission has recognised 177 OBCs castes for West Bengal but the previous Left Front government during Jyoti Basu’s tenure recognised only 64 communities including nine Muslim castes, as OBCs and provided them with 7 per cent reservation in 1993.
In 2010, the Left government created two different categories under OBC reservation which includes Category ‘A’ and Category ‘B’.
In Category ‘A’ – ‘More Backward’ people were categorised and were given 10 per cent reservation while in Category ‘B’ – seven per cent reservation were given to ‘Backward’ categorised people and increased the number of Muslim communities in the OBC list from nine to 53.
The TMC government which came to power in 2011 continued the same policy and as a result, today Category ‘A’ has 81 castes, out of which 73 belong to the Muslim community while Category ‘B’ has 96 castes, out of which 44 belong to the Muslim community.
From 1993 to 2020, the number of Muslim castes has increased from 9 to 117 (90 per cent of the total Muslim population in the state), out of which 65 were added by the current TMC government in the last 8 years.
“The ruling government in Bengal has been repeatedly claiming that it has given the benefit of OBC reservation to 99 per cent of the Muslim population in the state. While many other states have given specific quota under OBC reservation to Muslims, no other state has denied the benefit of reservation to OBCs like West Bengal,” a senior BJP leader said.
“Moreover, the Mandal Commission identified 177 castes/communities as OBCs in its report for West Bengal and only 12 castes were from the Muslim and around 150 were Hindu OBCs. To date, only 67 castes out of 150 have been included in the OBC list depriving the majority of Hindu OBCs the benefit of reservation,” he added.