OBCs to hold protests for quota in Maharashtra from June 17
Amid agitations started by the Maratha community demanding reservation in government jobs and education, the other backward class (OBC) community, too, is set to hold protests for restoring their reservation in local political bodies across Maharashtra.
The Akhil Bhartiya Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad (ABMPSP) led by senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhubal declared to start agitation to support their demand of political reservation for the OBC community in local bodies across Maharashtra. They will be starting the protests in support of their demand from north Maharashtra and central Maharashtra on June 17. They are also holding talks with all other organisations representing the OBC community to bring them together for protest. The decision was taken in ABMPSP’s executive committee meeting organized at Bhujbal’s farm house in Nashik on Tuesday.
ABMPSP in its state executive committee meeting has decided to hold statewide agitations on June 17.
The political reservation of OBC is on the verge of being abolished, following the Supreme Court (SC) verdict. While ruling out that the reservation in favour of OBCs in local bodies should not result in exceeding the 50% cap in reservation quota, the apex court directed the state government to appoint a dedicated commission for collecting empirical data, based on which, the reservation quota of the community be fixed. It means no seat is going to be reserved for the OBC community in the upcoming local bodies comprising municipal corporations, municipal councils, zilla parishads, panchayat samiti and gram panchayats at least for this year or until the state completes the entire process.
The verdict came on March 4 after which the state approached for a review, which was also quashed by the court on May 28. Around 65,000 seats reserved for OBCs across local bodies in the state are going to be affected with the apex court’s verdict, Bhujbal has claimed.
Meanwhile, the state government also decided to again file a second revision petition before the SC and seek time for collecting empirical data, considering the Covid-19 situation. The state will also request the apex court to allow them to conduct local body elections with OBC reservation with a rider that they will not cross the 50% cap of reservation quota in any of the local bodies while holding the polls. The decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackerayc along with other senior ministers such as Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Wadettiwar and officials.
“The state government has decided to file a revision petition before the apex court in the matter. We will also try to get the census data of OBCs from the central government as collecting empirical data is a time-consuming process and local body elections are due for this year,” Bhujbal told HT.
“We have already formed a state backward classes commission, which will be entrusted with the work of collecting empirical data of the OBC community,” he added.
However, there was also a view in the meeting that the SC specifically mentioned about setting up a dedicated commission in its order. Thus, legal validity should be examined by the state law and judiciary department before asking it to collect empirical data. “The decision has been put on hold until the law and judiciary department examines its legal aspects,” said another minister, wishing not to be named.
Balasaheb Kardak, ABMPSP north Maharashtra chief, said they will start holding protests in the region from Thursday.
“We have decided to hold protests in Nashik, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Dhule from tomorrow onwards. We will be holding ‘raasta roko’ and will submit a memorandum to the district collectors with the demand of restoring political reservation to the OBC. We will also be holding talks with all those elected representatives who have got the benefit of political reservations so that the issue can be raised from local bodies to the state assembly and the Parliament,” Kardak told HT.
He also clarified that they are holding protests to support their demands and not against any government.
Bhujbal said that the Thackeray already held three meetings in this matter and discussed legal details in one of the meetings with senior lawyer Kapil Sibal. He has also raised the matter in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “To provide political reservation to the OBC community, we need empirical data and census details. The erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led state government sought census details from the Centre, but were not provided. Soon after we came into power, a lockdown was imposed and suddenly the Supreme Court passed an order against OBC reservation on March 4,” he said.