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MP govt to woo OBCs through mega-conventions ahead of assembly polls

This is the first time events for OBCs are being organised ever since the BJP came to power after dislodging the Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government in 2003.

bhopal Updated: Apr 27, 2018 17:42 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,OBC,Other backward classes
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will felicitate select beneficiaries of government schemes at these conventions.(Praveen Bajpai/ HT File)

After placating farmers, government employees and contractual teachers in view of the upcoming assembly elections, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is now all set to woo the other backward classes (OBCs) by holding mega-conventions at various divisional headquarters next month.

An official familiar with the issue said that preparations were on for OBC Mahakumbhs, and the dates were being worked out in this regard.

This is the first time events for OBCs are being organised ever since the BJP came to power after dislodging the Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government in 2003. The government hopes to draw huge crowds to each such congregation held at the 10 divisional headquarters of Madhya Pradesh. According to the ministry of social justice and empowerment, the OBC population in the state stood at 41.5% in 2011-12.

“Our aim is to ensure a gathering of at least one lakh OBC people, including beneficiaries of government schemes, at these conventions. Collectors have been told to ensure success,” a senior party official said on the condition of anonymity.

The chief minister will felicitate select beneficiaries at the events, even asking them to share their views on the schemes.

A party insider said the mega-conventions were aimed at assuaging the feelings of OBC employees who feel resentful about a government petition in the Supreme Court that challenged a Madhya Pradesh high court order quashing promotion-related reservation in jobs meant for SC/ST workers. He said back-to-back defeats in the bypolls to four assembly seats in the last one year had also indicated to the party leadership that the BJP’s OBC base was rapidly eroding.

Congress OBC leader Rajmani Patel dismissed the conventions as elements of a BJP strategy to “woo highly disenchanted OBCs” ahead of the assembly elections. “The fact that the government is being forced to organise such an event for the first time, and that too during an election year, is glaring proof of the OBC’s disenchantment with the BJP,” he said.

However, minister of state for OBC and minority affairs Lalita Yadav said the OBC Mahakumbhs had nothing to do with the approaching elections. “Rather, it shows the government’s commitment to the OBCs, besides other segments of the society, as far as welfare schemes are concerned,” she added.

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 17:40 IST