Protest against reservation in promotion puts Uttarakhand Cong, BJP in a fix | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Protest against reservation in promotion puts Uttarakhand Cong, BJP in a fix

Both the Congress and the BJP in Uttarakhand face a stiff challenge ahead of the 2017 assembly elections with the general and OBC employees protesting against reservation in promotions for scheduled castes and tribes (SC/STs) in the state.

dehradun Updated: Nov 19, 2016 21:56 IST
Neha Pant
After unsuccessful talks with government officials, the Adhikari Karmachari Shishak Sangharsh Morcha plans to hold a major ‘Chetna Garjana Rally’ on November 21 to press for their demand.  Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT
After unsuccessful talks with government officials, the Adhikari Karmachari Shishak Sangharsh Morcha plans to hold a major ‘Chetna Garjana Rally’ on November 21 to press for their demand. Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT )

Both the Congress and the BJP in Uttarakhand face a stiff challenge ahead of the 2017 assembly elections with the general and OBC employees protesting against reservation in promotions for scheduled castes and tribes (SC/STs) in the state.

More than 70 associations of general and other backward classes (OBC) employees came together under an umbrella front and sought to know why Uttarakhand has not stopped reservation in promotions provision while neighbouring Uttar Pradesh took steps following a Supreme Court’s 2012 order.

The joint front -- Adhikari Karmachari Shishak Sangharsh Morcha -- comprises teachers and officials/employees of almost all government departments and corporations. Around 1.5 lakh employees are associated with the movement, front officials claimed.

After unsuccessful talks with various government officials over the issue, the front will now hold a major ‘Chetna Garjana Rally’ on November 21 to press for their demand.

“We want promotions of employees belonging to the SC/ST categories (who had availed of reservation in promotion) to be reverted immediately as per the Supreme Court’s order,” Deepak Joshi, the convener of the front, told HT.

Besides targeting the Congress-led state government, the front is also protesting against the BJP-led central government’s move to pass the Constitution (117th) Amendment Bill, 2012, a bill that seeks to ensure hurdle-free promotions to SC/STs, going against recent Supreme Court judgments.

“If the bill is passed, it will be a blow to our future. We have decided to take mass leave for the rally to make our voices be heard,” Subhash Devliyal, the front’s media in charge, told HT.

The Congress government has failed to take a clear stand on the matter so far. Surendra Kumar, the spokesperson of chief minister Harish Rawat, said the government will abide by the “constitutional obligations”. “We’ll study the matter and take a decision in the light of the Constitutional mandate as well as the Supreme Court’s order,” Kumar told HT.

On the other hand, BJP state spokesperson Vinay Goyal tried to evade the question by saying, “The Congress government should implement the Supreme Court’s order otherwise it does not have the right to remain in power.”

Political observers feel that at a time when both the parties are in a close fight to woo the SC/ST voters in the state, the situation will pose a tricky problem for them ahead of the assembly polls due early next year. SCs/STs together constitute about 21% of the state’s population.

“Whichever side they favour would upset the other side. At this juncture, both the parties would want to avoid openly siding with any one section and would rather take a please-all stand right now,” said political analyst Himanshu Nautiyal.