The OBC Mahasabha, an umbrella organisation of Other Backward Classes in Madhya Pradesh, took to the streets in Bhopal on Wednesday over their 27% reservation demand. The members of the organisation warned the Shivraj Singh government of a “fitting reply in 2023 assembly elections” if their demands were not met.
The OBC Mahasabha protested over a range of demands, including a caste-based census of OBCs, 27% OBC reservation in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), 27% reservation benefits to OBC candidates in MP Public Service Commission, teachers’ recruitment and other exams and extension of benefits to already recruited teachers.
The members of the Mahasabha protested at the CM’s office and demanded handing over the memorandum to him in person. A scuffle broke out between policemen and protesters who tried scaling the barricades at Ambedkar Park, near CM’s office. Deputy Inspector General Irshad Wali tried to quell the protest by offering a dialogue but the protesters refused and sat on the road.
A few were arrested before being released to makeshift jails. Both the sides accused each other of physical assault.
Former chief minister Kamal Nath and Congress member Kamleshwar Patel visited the site to support the protesters.
There has been a lengthy spell of political bickering between the ruling BJP and Congress over the proposed 27% reservation for OBCs.
Patel said it was the Congress who had proposed the 27% OBC reservation and affirmed that the party will stand with the OBCs in the legal fight.
Meanwhile, urban administration and development minister Bhupendra Singh said the Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government acknowledged the OBC demand and it will present the case in the court. “We will present our side before the Supreme Court of India with full support.”
Recently, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had asked the state government to continue with recruitments with 14% OBC reservation and keep 13% quota aside until final orders. The HC had declined to allow 27% OBC reservation for the time being citing the Maratha reservation in Maharashtra.