Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole on Wednesday accused the previous BJP-led state government of messing up the political reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local bodies. He also alleged that it was the RSS that has been using the BJP for removing political reservation. The Supreme Court in March this year had read down the OBC quota in some local governing bodies in the state citing non-availability of empirical data to substantiate the reservation percentage. The apex court had observed that total reservation should not exceed 50 per cent. OBCs used to get 27 per cent reservation in electoral wards of municipal bodies and zilla parishads (district councils).
Speaking to reporters, Patole said, “It was Devendra Fadnavis, who as a chief minister, issued a circular and postponed the Nagpur ZP elections in 2017. It was followed by several Zilla Parishads approaching the court and finally the Supreme Court read down the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act 1961 and the OBC community lost the electoral quota.” “It is indeed the move of the RSS that has been using the BJP to get rid of reservation from the politics,” Patole alleged. When the OBC quota case was in the Supreme Court, the BJP-led Union government did not share the empirical data. Even such data was not given to Fadnavis as well when he was the state chief minister, he said. “This is the key reason behind the OBCs losing the electoral quota,” he claimed.
Meanwhile BJP today held agitation across the state demanding that the MVA government restore the OBC quota in the elections. Fadnavis, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, said, “The state government’s decision to issue an ordinance is a welcome decision, although very late. It may not be useful in the upcoming polls of local governing bodies, but could be helpful in the subsequent polls. Meanwhile, the state government should not forget to get the empirical data and support the Backward Classes Commission for its work.” The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided in its cabinet meeting that it would bring an ordinance to grant OBC quota in the upcoming by-elections to a set of local governing bodies without crossing the Supreme Court-mandated 50 per cent cap on reservation. The BJP staged agitations in all maojor cities and districts seeking restoration of the OBC reservation.