Mumbai: The BJP on Saturday staged a mega agitation across Maharashtra, demanding the restoration of political reservation for OBCs in local bodies. The leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis blamed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for cancellation of quota by the Supreme Court (SC) and announced that he will retire from politics if his party fails to restore it.
While leading the agitation in Nagpur, Fadnavis said, “The fact is that this issue can be resolved at the state level. The state government can restore the reservation by formulating a law. There is no need for any act of the Central government. That is why OBC reservation is prevalent in other states, except Maharashtra. You (MVA) will have to make a law. We will not stop until we expose their lie.” He said this protest is being held to condemn the government on the issue.
The SC had in its March 4 order said that reservation in favour of OBCs in local bodies in Maharashtra cannot exceed aggregate 50% of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and OBCs took together.
However, MVA partners, the NCP and the Congress, slammed Fadnavis and the BJP for organising ‘chakka jam’ across the state. State NCP chief Jayant Patil lashed out, saying that the BJP put the veteran OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal behind bars. Also, its neglect forced veteran BJP leader Eknath Khadse to quit the party. “It was the BJP that ruined the political career of OBC leaders, and is now taking up the OBC quota issue. It’s shedding crocodile tears,” he claimed, adding that the NCP is making all efforts to restore political reservation for OBCs.
State Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant targeted Fadnavis and reminded him that he had announced that at the first cabinet meeting he would take a decision to provide reservation to the Dhangar community. “Despite heading the government, Fadnavis failed to keep his promise. Therefore, people know how much to believe in his promises,” he noted.
Meanwhile, OBC leaders like Bhujbal and Vijay Wadettiwar started their two-day workshop at Lonavala to discuss OBC quota and issues with regard to putting development and welfare schemes on fast track. Bhujbal had blamed the previous BJP-led government for its failure to get empirical data on OBCs from the Centre.