With today’s Supreme Court ruling allowing Madhya Pradesh to hold local body polls with OBC quota, the focus shifts now on the dedicated Maharashtra state commission on OBC which is currently busy in the compilation of empirical data. The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi partners have already submitted the separate representations urging the commission headed by former chief secretary Jayant Banthia to soon submit its report which will be submitted to the Supreme Court. The ruling partners expect that the apex court will accept the commission’s report and allow the state government to hold civic and local body polls on the lines of Madhya Pradesh with OBC quota.
The commission will launch a statewide visit from May 21 to hold interactions with various stakeholders to know their views on OBC quota and related information.
A senior government officer told the Free Press Journal, ‘’The commission has been in the process of examining electoral data of civic and local bodies since 1961 and especially after 1994 when the State Election Commission was formed. The electoral data comprises winning and running candidates, SC, ST, OBC and candidates from other castes and communities. The commission is studying the participation of people from various social groups. Besides, the commission will look into the district-wise information on the beneficiaries including OBCs in various government schemes and their present status. In addition, the commission will seek further details from the district collectors and municipal commissioners and CEOs as a part of compilation of empirical data of OBCs.’’ He said the commission is making all efforts to submit the data at the earliest but with yesterday’s apex court the civic and local body elections are expected after the monsoon.
The commission’s report is important as the Supreme Court in February rejected a report by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission which had suggested restoration of 27% political quota to OBCs subject to a permissible upper limit of 50% excluding statutory reservation for SC and ST. The commission had said that the OBC population in Maharashtra is 38% and not 33%
The OBC Welfare Foundation officer bearer Mrunal Dhole-Patil said the dedicated commission is expected to submit its report by June 11. ‘’Had the state government been ready with the report on empirical data of OBCs, the state would have got the same relief from the apex court. Nevertheless, let's hope the state government submits a report at the earliest and is able to restore the political quota of OBCs,’’ he noted.