OBC quota: Expecting empirical data in June, says Ajit Pawar

The state government is expecting a report on the empirical data elucidating the political backwardness of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the dedicated commission in June, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said and added they would approach the Supreme Court with the report, requesting it to restore the quota
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar HT File Photo
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar HT File Photo
Published on May 19, 2022 10:14 PM IST
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By, Mumbai

The state government is expecting a report on the empirical data elucidating the political backwardness of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the dedicated commission in June, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said and added they would approach the Supreme Court with the report, requesting it to restore the quota.

He said the state was following in the footsteps of the Madhya Pradesh government and would provide the local body wise data of voters to the commission headed by former chief secretary Jayant Banthia. Pawar also expressed the hope that the apex court would give a positive verdict on the OBC reservation in the local bodies.

Pawar was speaking to reporters after holding his weekly ‘Janata Darbar’ at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) headquarters at Ballard Estate.

“We are expecting a report [on the empirical data] from the Jayant Banthia commission in June after which we will approach the apex court for restoration of the OBC quota in the local bodies, that too under the 50% ceiling imposed by it,” the deputy CM said.

The apex court scrapped the 27% reservation to the OBC community in Maharashtra in the absence of a triple test being made mandatory for the states to follow for providing quota to the backward classes.

On Wednesday, a bench of justices A M Khanwilkar, A S Oka, and C T Ravikumar allowed the Madhya Pradesh government to issue an order notifying OBC reservation on the lines of the report of a three-member OBC commission set up in September last year. After Maharashtra, MP was also declined to hold the local body polls with 27% OBC quota.

Pawar said they were also taking a cue from Madhya Pradesh. “Madhya Pradesh took local body wise data of voters for an empirical survey, which we are also going to provide to the dedicated commission.”

“The Supreme Court is supreme and we welcome the verdict but also expect a similar decision in our case after we approach it with empirical data,” Pawar said, when asked about the apex court’s decision.

He said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government was serious about restoration of the OBC quota and would continue to make efforts until the community got back political reservation. “We are very serious about the OBC reservation; should I give this in writing on a stamp paper?” he said, taking a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party that has attacked the government for failing to restore the OBC reservation.

NCP hints at supporting Sena in RS polls

Sharad Pawar-led NCP has indicated that it is likely to support Shiv Sena in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections if the ruling ally decides to contest the second seat.

Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the NCP chief had promised the Sena leadership to support them in the Rajya Sabha polls which are slated to be held for six seats from Maharashtra on June 10.

“Approving a request made by Sharad Pawar, Sena had supported NCP in getting our second candidate [Fauzia Khan] elected in the last Rajya Sabha polls [held in 2020]. At that time, Pawar saheb had promised Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that NCP would extend its support in the next elections by diverting its surplus votes [to win their second candidate],” Ajit Pawar said when asked about Sena fielding two candidates.

The deputy CM, however, denied having any information on the NCP chief’s decision to support Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje’s candidature for the polls. Sambhajiraje, who is a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is contesting the Rajya Sabha polls as an independent candidate.

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