Maharashtra Legislature on Monday unanimously passed a resolution recommending the State Election Commission (SEC) not to hold the upcoming local body elections in the state in the absence of reserved seats for the Other Backward Class (OBC) community. The Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar moved the resolution in the state assembly and it was seconded by the Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis. Thereafter, it was passed unanimously. In the state council, the rural development minister Hasan Mushrif and it was also passed unanimously.
Pawar said the representation to OBCs in local bodies is necessary.
Both the ruling and opposition was strongly in favour of the postponement of the ensuing local body elections in the absence of OBC seats especially after the Supreme Court scrapped the 27% political reservation for OBC in local bodies and thereafter stayed the state government’s ordinance proposing OBC reservation below the 50% quota ceiling. The apex court thereafter asked the SEC to de-reserve the OBC seats and conduct the elections.
The state government had through a letter had recently urged the SEC to postpone the local body elections on OBC seats. However, SEC has turned down the state government’s request hinting that it will go ahead with the elections by de-reserving the OBC seats. The SEC’s move was aimed to avoid contempt of court.
Today’s resolution is important as the SEC has already announced the elections to the de-reserved OBC seats in 106 Nagar Panchayats, Bhandara Gondia zilla parishads and panchayat samitis under their jurisdiction on January 18. As per SEC’s poll schedule, 23 of the 105 seats in Bhandara-Gondia zilla parishad, which were earlier OBC seats, will now be converted into general constituencies.
Also, 45 of the 210 seats in the 15 panchayat samitis in the district were OBC seats. Similarly, 344 of the 1,802 seats in 106 nagar panchayats were reserved for OBCs and one of the 4 seats in municipal corporations where by-polls are scheduled was also earmarked for OBC.
In the meanwhile, the state government last week in the supplementary demands has earmarked Rs 450 crore to the State Backward Classes Commission for the compilation of the empirical data of OBC. The Centre has already refused to share the empirical data as demanded by the state government. The collection of empirical data of OBC was one of the conditions laid down by the apex court. The apex court had referred to the triple condition noted in the Constitution bench verdict of 2010, including setting up a dedicated commission to conduct a contemporaneous rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness of local bodies within the state.
State Congress chief Nana Patole claimed that BJP was playing politics on OBC quota through Governor.
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