The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday set up a five-member commission on the issue of reservation to other backward classes (OBC reservation) in municipal body elections.
The commission will be headed by Justice (Retd) Ram Avtar Singh. The four other members are retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers Chaub Singh Verma and Mahendra Kumar and former UP legal advisers Santosh Kumar Viskarma and Brajesh Kumar Soni.
The setting up of the commission comes after the Allahabad High Court quashed the UP government’s earlier decision led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to reserve seats for OBCs in urban local polls. The Supreme Court’s decision drew opposition criticism of Adityanath’s government, which assured that elections would be held only after OBC reservation — despite the HC ordering “immediate” polls.
The notification for the composition of the panel, issued by the urban development department, states that the tenure of the commission will be for a period of six months from the date of assumption of office.
The UP government’s reason for canceling the OBC reservation was non-compliance with the triple test formula laid down by the Supreme Court.
The “triple test” formula calls for the establishment of a commission to conduct a “rigorous empirical inquiry” into the nature of “backwardness” in the local authority context, specifying the proportion of reservations based on the commission’s recommendations and not exceeding the overall 50 percent quota limit.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya also said in a tweet earlier that elections will be held only after reservation.
The court’s verdict has triggered a rift between the BJP and the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP).
Maurya, the OBC face of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, faced particular ire from the SP when senior leader Ram Gopal Yadav attacked ministers from the OBC community in the Adityanath government.
Ram Gopal Yadav, SP national general secretary, tweeted on Tuesday, “The decision to end OBC reservation in municipal body elections is unfortunate. It is a conspiracy of Uttar Pradesh government, facts were not presented deliberately.” before the court.
“…60 percent of the people of Uttar Pradesh have been denied reservation. The mouths of OBC ministers are locked. Maurya’s condition is that of a labourer.”
But Maurya retaliated, saying earlier in the day, “SP and Saifai family cannot tolerate a deputy chief minister from backward class. Derogatory and indecent words used by leaders of Saifai family and their leaders, including Akhilesh Yadavji.” , are well known to me.
“The deletion of the SP and the reservation against backwardness in municipal body elections are clear in advance.”
Saifai in Etawah district is the native village of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also continued his attack on the state government, saying in a tweet earlier in the day, “Trying to end reservations is a sinister plot of BJP’s negative politics.”
The party’s Uttar Pradesh unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel also blamed the BJP-led exception to the High Court’s quashing of the state government’s December 5 notification on OBC reservation.
“The BJP government has not presented the facts to the court and now it has been forced to say that a triple test will be conducted. Why this delay? BJP is doing all this knowingly,” he said.
Patel said the SP has been continuously running programs to “save the constitution”.
The SP has been saying since the beginning that the BJP “is anti-reservation, anti-farmer and all sections are angry about it”, he said.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati also attacked the state government over the verdict.
Apna Dal (S) working president Ashish Patel, a minister in the BJP-led government, on Tuesday said elections without OBC reservation were “not fair in any sense”.