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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

BJP turns focus on OBCs, 2-day convention in Patna to begin from today

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party has organised two-day national convention of the OBC Morcha in Patna from February 15. Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Jharkahnd CM Raghubar Das, BJP’s Bihar in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav will be the main speakers on the first day.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2019 08:12 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
The purpose of the convention is to spread awareness about the work done by the Narendra Modi government for the respective communities.
The purpose of the convention is to spread awareness about the work done by the Narendra Modi government for the respective communities.(PTI file photo)
         

After its bid to woo the upper caste poor through the central law to provide them 10% reservations, the BJP has turned its attention to the OBCs.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party has organised two-day national convention of the OBC Morcha in Patna from February 15. Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Jharkahnd CM Raghubar Das, BJP’s Bihar in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav will be the main speakers on the first day.

The purpose of the convention is to spread awareness about the work done by the Narendra Modi government for the respective communities. Future campaigns and ways to strengthen the organization will also be planned at the event.

Bihar has an OBC population of 52% as against 42% in India.

BJP leaders say the party has been compelled to hardsell the Modi government’s eight-point achievement with regard to OBCs in nearly five years of NDA rule after the RJD in Bihar, which did not support the upper caste quota bill, is trying to create a backward-forward divide. While Tejashwi has clarified he is not against the poor among the upper castes, he is opposed to the Rs 8 lakh cap for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota benefits.

Senior BJP leaders concede that taking a lesson from 2015 assembly elections, when a ‘false campaign’ launched by RJD chief Lalu Prasad over RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat’s comment on reservations cost the BJP dearly, their party (BJP) is cautious this time and want to pre-empt and counter any such campaign that the BJP was anti-backward.

Senior BJP leader and party spokesperson Rajib Ranjan, who comes from OBC, said, “We want our OBC leaders to tell people at the village-level what we have done and are doing for them, but we are not perturbed by RJD’s propaganda. We have been discussing the “eight-point” programme for OBCs for some time now and it would not be fair to call it a “counter” to the EWS quota implementation.”

Prem Kumar, a minister in the state, party’s state unit vice-president Samrat Chowdhary and Bihar BJP Ati Pichada Morcha president Jainath Chauhan said the BJP’s “eight-point ” programme included getting constitutional status for National OBC Commission like the SC/ ST Commission and constituting a commission for classification of castes under OBCs to rationalise reservation benefits to several EBCs. “The creamy layer identification cap has been raised from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh,” said Kumar, adding that a provision has been also made to extend reservation benefits to children of PSU employees.

The BJP’s OBC convention would also discuss how the process of OBC certification has been made easy as there is now no need for getting the certificate attested by a gazetted officer and one can self-attest it. “The Centre has started the venture capital scheme to encourage entrepreneurs from SC and OBC categories,” Chowdhary said.

On the first day of the convention, a proposal to thank the central government will also be moved for providing constitutional status to the OBC Commission. Party president Amit Shah and former MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan will speak on the concluding day.

First Published: Feb 15, 2019 07:43 IST

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