Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday dismissed Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s demand for a quota for Other Backward Classes within the seats reserved for women in Parliament and the state assemblies.
“Why is it that whenever there is a discussion on women’s reservation, the demand is raised for OBC reservation? First, let’s clear reservation for women in this session then we can make other demands,’’ said Pawar.
He added that demand for OBC and Muslim reservation in the Parliament can be debated separately.
On Saturday, Bhujbal had called for OBC reservation in the women’s quota. NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad had also backed the demand. Bhujbal backed down from his aggressive stance after Pawar’s snub and clarified that he was not opposed to the women’s bill but wanted OBC reservation.
Political observers say the women’s reservation bill is likely to lead to a further split between the OBC and the non-OBC factions in the state. On Sunday, Peasants and Workers Party president Jayant Patil supported Bhujbal’s demand for reservation to OBC in the women’s bill and the Parliament.
Pawar said NCP was a consistent supporter of the bill since its inception and that he had held talks with the ‘Yadav opposition’ to not stall the legislation.