Mumbai: Petition to be filed in SC with a plea to direct the Centre to provide empirical data on OBCs, says Chhagan Bhujbal

Veteran Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister Chhagan Bhujbal announced that a petition will be filed in the Supreme Court next week with a plea to direct the central government to transfer empirical data on OBCs to the Maharashtra government. Bhujbal said, if the central government hands over this data, it will be possible for the state Election Commission to hold elections to the local bodies where the political reservation for OBCs has been scrapped.

Bhujbal said till the 27% political quota is restored, elections should not take place. He blamed the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government for not seriously pursuing the central government to get the empirical data, which led to the apex court scrapping the OBC quota. Bhujbal said he wouldn't mind being a part of the delegation, led by BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for early the handing over of the empirical data of OBCs to the state government.

“The number of COVID-19 patients is on a rise again. The question is how to hold elections in such a situation. If empirical data on OBCs is received from the central government, the question will be resolved within four days. For this, we have to go to the PM and get the data. If the Government of India cannot conduct a census, then how will the state government be able to collect empirical data during the present pandemic?” asked Bhujbal.

“I want to restore the OBC reservation. I am ready to accept anyone’s leadership for this. I don't want to bring any politics in it. If BJP wants to take credit, let them do that,” said Bhujbal. He, however, told BJP not to politicise the issue, but work together in this regard.

On the other hand, BJP announced that it will hold a state-wide agitation on June 26 to demand the restoration of OBC quota in local bodies. Fadnavis said that BJP will intensify its agitation until the OBC reservation in local body elections -- recently quashed by the Supreme Court -- is restored. "It is wrong, but I think we need to learn something from this government. The way the MVA government spreads lies with confidence every day, it has baffled me. We should learn to possess this confidence and not the lying trait from this government," he said.

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