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OBC MPs want a parliamentary forum for them

MPs belonging to Other Backward Classes have petitioned LS Speaker S Chatterjee to set up a separate parliamentary committee for them writes Saroj Nagi.
None | By Saroj Nagi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 11, 2007 05:20 AM IST

MPs belonging to Other Backward Classes have petitioned Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to set up a separate parliamentary committee for them on the lines of the ones set up for scheduled castes and tribes and women.

There are approximately 135 OBC Mps from different parties in the Lower House and another 30-odd in the Rajya Sabha, the numbers reflecting the implications of OBC politics at the ground level and in Parliament which the UPA sought to encash with the quota-in-education bill. In Parliament, the OBC members showed their strength by blocking the women’s reservation bill and objecting to any move to skim the creamy layer amongst them.

``The backward classes constitute more than 60% of the population and the Constitution has provided for reservation for OBCs. Yet, the policy of reservation has been put into effect only from September 1993 and unless it is monitored effectively (by the representatives of the people, the goal of social justice will remain only as a slogan,’’ the OBC MPs said in a memorandum to the Speaker.

They referred to repeated complaints of OBC candidates being discriminated against general category applicants or failing to get justice in allotment of services by the Department of Personnel so that they are forced to go to court. OBC employees are not given a fair deal in promotions in many departments, said the memorandum which was signed, among others, by V Hanumanthappa Rao, convenor of the Parliamentary Forum of OBC MPs, an informal grouping, Yerrannaidu, Sachin Pilot, B K Hari Prasad, Subhalakshi Jagdeeshan and V Narayanswamy.

They urged the Speaker to constitute a parliamentary committee for OBC headed by an MP from the community so that reservations for the community can be implemented in all departments.

This, they said, would be in consonance with the UPA’s Common Minimum Programme which committed to abide by six basic principles of governance, including equality of opportunity, particularly in education and employment, for SCs, STs, OBCs and religious minorities.

The Speaker assured the four-member delegation led by Rao that he would look into the matter. But before taking their plea to the Speaker on Thursday, the OBC MPs had last year met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard. They intend to call on the PM again.

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