Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday cancelled his foreign trip, scheduled from May 14, for inviting business houses to invest in the state, saying his priority is to present the state government's side in the Supreme Court and safeguard the interest of other backward classes (OBCs). The decision came a day after the Supreme Court directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to conduct local body (gram, nagar and zila panchayat) elections without OBC reservation. "I was scheduled to travel abroad from May 14 to attract investment in Madhya Pradesh, but at this time it is my priority to present my case again in the court and protect the interests of the backward classes. Therefore I am cancelling my proposed foreign trip.
My government is fully committed to the socio-economic and political empowerment of other backward classes," Chouhan added. Chouhan asserted that the Supreme Court's judgement would affect the OBC's reservation in local bodies and that's why the state government decided to file a review petition. The chief minister's office (CMO) told IANS that Chouhan's foreign trip to the US, UK, Switzerland, Germany and Davos was scheduled from May 14 to 24. The proposed visit was part of the state government's plan to host a global investors summit in November this year. In its judgment pronounced on Tuesday, the court had strictly directed the SEC to issue notification regarding the same within a period of two weeks.
After the Supreme Court judgment, both the political parties - BJP and the Congress started levelling allegations at each other and maintained that the local body elections should not be held without OBC reservation. Veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath blamed Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the present situation on this matter. "OBC class would have got the benefit of their increased reservation, but the Shivraj government did not want it, so it did not make any serious efforts regarding this, but the Congress is still determined that the OBC class should get the benefit of the increased reservation in any case, and without OBC reservation, urban body elections should not be held in Madhya Pradesh," Nath said.