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Lok Sabha passes bill for OBC quota in local bodies in J-K

New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes in local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir and to bring consistency in the local bodies laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution.

The bill seeks to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, of 1989, the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, of 2000 and the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.

In his reply to the debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the provisions pertaining to state Election Commissioner in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act "are at variance" with the provisions of the Constitution.

He accused the opposition parties of doing "drama" of supporting reservation for OBCs and raising other issues.

"I wish to make one thing clear, no matter how much you go around in circles, but till Jammu and Kashmir wherever you go you will only hear

'Modi, Modi' and the development ushered in by Modi," the minister said

"For the first time, 27 ministers are from the OBC community. The commission of OBC was not granted a constitutional status and because of this, the reservation for the OBC was always suspected, but when it got the constitutional status, it strengthened the reservations for the community.... a provision was made for reservations in the admission to MBBS and MD. It was done for the first time. Why did not they (Congress) do this before?" he asked.

Rai said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have started enjoying the fruits of development ushered in by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Participating in the debate, National Conference member Hasnain Masoodi said that the government has not decided a date for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir which is now a union territory after bifurcation following scrapping of Article 370. He said it is a matter of "shame" for the government that the Supreme Court had to set an outer limit for holding assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. The National Conference has also been demanding the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy alleged that BJP cannot be trusted in local body polls and said the Supreme Court had passed strictures over the way the mayor election was held in Chandigarh.

He also demanded early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. On August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was made a Union territory with a provision for a legislative assembly after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the erstwhile state. 

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