The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday witnessed a ruckus created by Congress MLAs demanding the implementation of the 27% quota for OBCs announced by the erstwhile Kamal Nath government, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House two days before schedule. Amid the din in the House, where BJP enjoys a majority, six bills including the MP Excise (Amendment) Bill prescribing capital punishment and life imprisonment in the cases related to deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor, were declared passed. The first supplementary demands for FY 2021-22 were also declared passed. In the 230-member House, the BJP has 125 MLAs, Congress 95, BSP 2, SP 1, and 4 are Independents. Three seats are currently vacant, as per the state Assembly website. Half of the question hour was washed out as MLAs of Congress trooped into the Well of the House and raised slogans against inflation and rising prices of fuel, forcing an adjournment.

As soon as the House convened after question hour, the Opposition members wearing aprons with anti-government slogans, once again entered the Well alleging the BJP government is dilly-dallying the implementation of the 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) announced by the erstwhile Congress government. Leader of Opposition Kamal Nath said the state government was adopting an anti-OBC stand by not implementing the reservation. Amid sloganeering by Opposition legislators, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Congress did nothing for the welfare of the backward classes. Chouhan accused Congress of hypocrisy and deceiving the backward classes. Now, Congress is doing a drama on this issue, he said. Congress MLAs, meanwhile, said the BJP government’s reply in the high court (where the OBC reservation issue is pending) shows that it was not interested in providing the reservation. The previous Congress government had provided 27 per cent reservation to OBCs but the BJP government has failed to present its plea strongly in the HC to support this decision, they said. Amid the ruckus created by both sides, nothing could be heard. Speaker Girish Gautam continued to conduct the business as scheduled amid sloganeering by Congress MLAs. After completing the listed business, the Speaker adjourned the House sine die amid ruckus. The monsoon session was supposed to conclude on August 12. Later, speaking to reporters, CM Chouhan again accused Congress of hypocrisy on the issue of OBC reservation.

“But the BJP government will leave no stone unturned to implement the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, he said. Speaking to PTI, senior Congress MLA Kamleshwar Patel claimed the state advocate general had told the High Court to continue the stay on the OBC reservation till the hearing concludes. This shows that the state government is not willing to implement this reservation. The Digvijaya Singh government (1993-2003) had decided to implement the OBC reservation but the BJP government later did not fight the case properly in the court. Now, the government is doing it again, Patel alleged. He said the BJP government is not putting forward a strong reply in the HC to ensure that the reservation granted to OBCs by the previous Kamal Nath government is implemented. “The BJP’s stand is not clear on the OBC reservation issue,” he alleged. The then Kamal Nath-led Congress government had increased the OBC quota from 14% to 27% in March 2019. The high court stayed the decision.

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