BJP's move on OBC may bring relief to Kerala Left govt

BJP's move on OBC may bring relief to Kerala Left govt too

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Credit: PTI Photo

The move of the BJP government at the Centre to restore powers of state governments to identify Other Backward Classes has come at a time when the Left Front government in Kerala is caught up in a political row over the issue.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala decided to bring the Christian-Nadar community under OBC reservation just ahead of the recent Assembly polls. The decision was considered to have benefited the left front in the election at many seats, especially in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

But the Kerala High Court last week stayed the order citing that state governments do not have the power to include communities in the OBC list. The HC scrapped the state government's order citing the SC verdict in the Maratha reservation case also. 

This had triggered allegations from Congress camps that the Left Front's decision to include the Christian-Nadar community in OBC was a political stunt to woo voters of the community.

Though the state government filed an appeal against the single bench order, the HC division bench that considered it on Monday refused to stay the single bench order.

It was in February, just ahead of the Assembly polls, that the Pinarayi Vijayan government decided to include the Christian Nadar community in the OBC list, a long pending demand of the community. Thiruvananthapuram is one of the strongholds of the community and the left front won 13 of the 14 Assembly seats in the district.

Being an issue concerning a community the Congress is also not making open statements on the matter. Congress earlier faced criticisms for allegedly neglecting the demand.

Sources said that in the present context if the power of states to identify OBC is restored, the Left Front government would be able to go ahead with its decision to include the Nadar Christian community in the OBC list. This would help the Left Front to further strengthen its relationship with the community that was so far considered as pro-Congress.