Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari on Thursday signed an ordinance for providing reservation to the other backward classes (OBC) community in the local body elections in the state. Koshyari, who had sent back the ordinance to the state government raising legal issues, gave his consent today after the state cabinet on Wednesday had cleared a revised draft which has clearly mentioned that reservation to the OBC community will be below the 50% ceiling imposed by the Supreme Court or 27%, whichever is lower. This means, after ensuring reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs, the quota will not exceed the 50% limit in civic and local bodies.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who is the founder of Samata Parishad, thanked the Governor for signing the ordinance. "We are grateful to the Governor for approving the ordinance sent by the Cabinet. The Raj Bhavan had sent back to the government raising some query which had been addressed at the yesterday’s cabinet. The revised draft was sent to the Governor who has now signed it,’’ he noted.
As reported by the Free Press Journal, the state government will now send the ordinance to the State Election Commission (SEC) and inform it about the implementation of OBC quota in the upcoming by-elections to the Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis slated for October 5 and also in elections slated in future.
‘’The government will now submit the ordinance approved by the Governor to the SEC informing it for the application of quota to the OBC community in the ensuing local body elections. The SEC is an independent body. The political parties can appeal to the SEC allowing the candidates to file fresh nominations. But I don't know whether the SEC will do it or not,’’ said Bhujbal.
The state government has accepted an ordinance route on the lines of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which had issued an ordinance to provide quota to OBC community within 50% ceiling.
After the issuance of this ordinance, OBCs in the state will get 27 per cent reservation in some districts, 20 per cent in some places and 4 per cent in others. The total number of OBC seats will be reduced by 10 to 12 per cent. ‘’It doesn't matter if the seats are reduced by 10 to 12 per cent instead of all the seats. But 90 per cent seats will be saved,’’ said Bhujbal.
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