Mumbai: Leaders across party lines join hands to restore OBC quota in state local bodies
Shashank Parade

Cutting across party lines, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Sunday, shared a platform in support of the restoration of 27% political reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in local bodies. At the conclave of OBC leaders, the participants unanimously pressed for resolutions with regards to filing a review petition in the Supreme Court, seeking empirical data on OBCs from the central government and mobilising community members across the state.

A day after BJP staged a statewide agitation and blamed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for the cancellation of OBC quota in local bodies, former minister Pankaja Munde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule attended the workshop at Lonavala and discussed the future course of action, keeping political affiliations aside, to save the OBC quota. State Congress chief Nana Patole and Minister of Sports Sunil Kedar also took part in the deliberations. Senior ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Vijay Wadettiwar had addressed the gathering on Saturday with a call for unity to restore OBC quota in local bodies.

The participants agreed to unanimously urge the central government to share the empirical data on OBCs to the state at the earliest. They also agreed that a review petition should be filed in the Supreme Court, challenging its order to scrap 27% political reservation of OBCs in local bodies citing that it was in excess of the 50% ceiling limit of quotas.

Further, the participants clarified that OBCs are not against providing 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs to Marathas. However, they argued that it should not be given from the existing OBC quota.

Bhujbal announced that he wouldn’t mind if former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis led the delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a plea to restore OBC quota, but said the issue needs to be resolved at the earliest. Munde said that the by-elections announced in local bodies should not take place till the OBC quota is restored.

Minister of OBC Vijay Wadettiewar asked all the parties to come together on the issue of OBC reservations in local bodies and not start a blame game. It would not help anyone. "A blame game won't take us anywhere. There are some forces who don't want OBCs to get quota and these forces are misleading people. We should come together to ensure that the community gets reservation," he said.

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