OBC reservation row in Maharashtra: Defer local body polls, says NCP

Published on Aug 31, 2021 11:51 PM IST

NCP chief Sharad Pawar also asked the ministers to be careful and legally deal with the action by the central investigation agencies.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar advised the party ministers to see how elections to the local bodies can be deferred until the OBC reservation issue is resolved. (HT)
NCP chief Sharad Pawar advised the party ministers to see how elections to the local bodies can be deferred until the OBC reservation issue is resolved. (HT)
By, Mumbai

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) wants the elections to the local bodies to be deferred until the issue of Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation is resolved. The issue was discussed in a meeting of party ministers led by NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. Pawar also asked the ministers to be careful and legally deal with the action by the central investigation agencies.

The NCP is part of a three-party coalition, Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), led by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with the Shiv Sena and Congress. The elections are due early next year.

“The NCP chief advised the party ministers to see how elections to the local bodies can be deferred until the OBC reservation issue is resolved,” said a senior minister. “The NCP is of the view that the elections should not be held until the OBC reservation is sorted. It was also discussed in today’s meeting,” said Nawab Malik, national spokesperson, NCP.

On March 4, the Supreme Court ruled that the reservation in favour of the OBC in local bodies should not exceed the 50% quota cap mandated by it. It has directed the state to appoint a dedicated commission to collect empirical data, based on which the reservation for the community can be fixed. It also allowed the state election commission to hold local body polls without reservation for OBCs.

The state cabinet, in its discussion last week, decided that the state election commission will be requested to defer the upcoming local body elections for a few months considering the threat of a third Covid wave. The state is also mulling amendments to laws related to the local bodies for OBC reservation.

“A few ministers also raised the issue of action against MVA ministers by the central agencies. Pawar saheb advised us to be careful and legally deal with any action as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to defame and create trouble for the MVA government,” said a senior minister.

Many leaders and ministers from the MVA government are facing action by the central investigation agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). After former home Anil Deshmukh and Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, the ED has issued summons to the state transport minister Anil Parab. The BJP has also sought a CBI probe against deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar into the allegations made by controversial police officer Sachin Vaze.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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