Bhubaneswar, August 26 (Odisha.in) Bharatiya Janata Party’s scheduled caste and scheduled tribe legislatures have demanded their share in the Orissa ministry headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
According to sources in the State BJP legislative Party, out of the 18 BJP legislators as many as 17 have sent a memorandum to National Party President Rajnath Singh alleging that the State party leadership have ignored the rightful demand of the S.C. and S.T. legislatures (MLAs) of the party as far as the question of their representation in the government and party are concerned.
In the 147 members state legislative assembly BJP has 32 members. Of them 18 belong to S.C. and S.T. and only 14 belong to general castes.
The only members from the S.C. and S.T. presently in Naveen Patnaik’s Council of Ministers is Golak Chandra Nayak, who has been give insignificant department of Animal Resources while upper castes have been given 7 key posts, one of the signatories of the letter told Odisha.in.
Those who have been inducted from upper caste include Industries and Rural Development Minister Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal, Higher Education Minister Samir Dey, Kanak Vardhan Sign Deo, Minister for Urban development and Public Enterprises and Surama Padhy , Minister of State for Co-operation.
Similarly, the State unit of the party is also headed by Suresh Pujari a person belongs to upper caste. Prominet other posts are also held by people from upper caste like Dharmendra Pradhan, Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Manmohan Samal etc, he alleged.
The S.C. and S.T. members have mentioned in their letter that the upper castes who have enjoyed power despite of their minority in the House should now pave way for the S.C. and S.T. members to participate in the Government so that the problems of the under developed communities in the state can be solved to a great extent.
They have demanded a share of at least five ministerial posts considering their majority among the party M.L.A.s.
This move has virtually created panic among the upper caste M.L.A.s who are holding ministerial posts for long years and the central leadership seems to be at a loss to find out an acceptable solution to the problem since they have reportedly realised that the demands of the S.C. and S.T. members are genuine.
The unity among them have virtually worried the local party leaders, ministers as well as the central party leaders to a great extent, who have started thinking that it would not be possible for them to take the majority of these members for a ride any more.