UP govt appoints five-member panel on OBC reservation in urban local body elections

Lucknow, Dec 28 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday appointed a five-member commission on reservation to the OBC in urban local body elections, a day after the Allahabad High Court quashed its draft poll notification.
    The panel will be headed by Justice (Retd) Ram Avtar Singh. The four other members are retired Indian Administrative Service officers Chaub Singh Verma and Mahendra Kumar, and former legal advisors to the state Santosh Kumar Viskarma and Brajesh Kumar Soni.
    The members were appointed following approval from the governor.
    A notification on the panel's constitution, issued by the Urban Development department, said the commission's term would be for a six-month period from the day of taking charge.
    The panel's constitution comes a day after the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court quashed the state government's draft notification on urban local body elections and ordered it to hold the polls without reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
    The high court order came on the back of pleas challenging the preparation of the OBC reservation draft without following the triple test formula prescribed by the Supreme Court.
    Following the verdict, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had asserted that elections to urban local bodies would not be held without reservation for OBCs.
    The state government will set up a commission on urban body elections and provide reservation to the OBCs on the basis of the triple test, he had said on Tuesday.
    The 'triple test' formula requires setting up of a commission to hold a 'rigorous empirical inquiry' into the nature of 'backwardness' in the context of the local bodies, specifying the proportion of reservation based on the commission's recommendations, and not exceeding the overall 50 per cent quota limit.
    Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya also said in a tweet earlier in the day that elections would only be held after reservation.
    The court's verdict has triggered a slugfest between the BJP and the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP).
    Maurya, the OBC face of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, has faced particular ire of the SP with senior leader Ram Gopal Yadav attacking ministers from the OBC community in the Adityanath government.
    Ram Gopal Yadav, the SP's national general secretary, had said in a tweet on Tuesday, "The decision of ending the OBC reservation in the urban body elections is unfortunate. It is a conspiracy of the Uttar Pradesh government, the facts were deliberately not presented before the court.
    "...60 per cent of the population of Uttar Pradesh was denied reservation. The mouths of OBC ministers are locked. Maurya's condition is like that of a bonded labourer."
    Maurya, however, retaliated and said earlier in the day, "The SP and the Saifai family cannot tolerate a deputy chief minister from the backward class. The derogatory and indecent words being used by leaders of the Saifai family and their leaders, including Akhilesh Yadavji, towards me are well known.
    "Wipe out of the SP and reservation to the backwards in the urban body elections are a foregone conclusion."
    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 and said in a tweet earlier during the day, "Trying to end reservation is the sinister conspiracy of the BJP's negative politics."
    The party's Uttar Pradesh unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel also blamed the BJP-led dispensation for the high court setting aside the state government's December 5 notification on OBC reservation.
    "The BJP government did not present the facts before the court and now it has been forced to say that a triple test will be done. Why this delay? The BJP is doing all this knowingly," he alleged.
    Patel said the SP had continuously carried out programmes to "save the Constitution".
    The SP has been saying from the beginning that the BJP "is anti-reservation, anti-farmer and all sections are angry with it", he said.
    Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has also attacked the state government over the verdict.
    Apna Dal (S) Working President Ashish Patel, a minister in the BJP-led government, said on Tuesday that elections without the OBC reservation were "not fair from any point of view".

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)