Elections to local bodies should not be held till OBC quota is restored: Wadettiwar

Mumbai: Congress Minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Monday demanded that the elections to local bodies should not be held till the 27% political quota for OBCs is restored. Wadettwar’s announcement came days after BJP leader Pankaja Munde said OBCs will not allow conducting elections to the local bodies till the political quota is restored.

On the other hand, Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje announced that the silent agitation planned over the next few days across Maharashtra seeking quota and other benefits for the Maratha community has been postponed by a month to give the state government time to fulfill these demands.

Wadettiwar’s announcement came days before OBC leaders from all parties will meet at Lonavala on June 26 and 27 to discuss the plight of OBCs, strategy to restore its quota in local bodies and government’s intervention to expedite slew of development and welfare schemes.

“I have discussed the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and also with senior minister Chhagan Bhujbal. We made it clear that local body elections should not be held till the reservation of OBCs is restored. The discussion with the CM is positive. The government is in favour of it. No matter how much pressure there is, the election should not be held till the issue of political reservation of OBCs is resolved,” said Wadettiwar.

Meanwhile, Sambhajiraje on Monday sat on a three-hour protest at Nashik which was attended by Maharashtra ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Dada Bhuse, as well as state Assembly deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal.

"The state government has met most of our demands. It has asked for 21 days to fulfill the rest of the demands. Therefore, we have decided to postpone our silent agitation by one month. The struggle for Maratha reservation will not stop at all," he said.

Sambhajiraje said the state government had agreed to the demand of setting up eight sub-centres of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARATHI), including issuing an order to start the Kolhapur sub-centre immediately.

It has also agreed to give full autonomy and more funds to SARATHI, build hostels for Maratha students in 23 districts as well as OBC-like benefits to members of the community, he said.

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