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Maharashtra’s new quota rule for rural local bodies may upset OBC community

By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON AUG 03, 2019 12:04 AM IST

Ahead of the state Assembly elections, the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government may have to face the ire of members from other backward classes (OBC), following a decision over reservation of the community in rural local bodies.

On July 31, the state rural development department (RDD) issued an ordinance, stating that the community will get a reservation in rural local bodies based on their population in that district, in case the reservation quota breaches a 50% cap. Currently, the OBC community gets 27% reservation in local body elections, such as gram panchayat and panchayat samiti and zilla parishad (ZP) in the state. After the ordinance, the community’s representation in the local bodies will be based on its population in that particular district.

A similar rule had earlier been implemented with regard to scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST). The ordinance comes after these communities demanded that a similar rule be brought in force for the OBC community. The state has cited a Bombay high court (HC) order, asking the state to consider taking a decision on the matter, as the reason behind the move.

The move has invited criticism from the opposition. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar, said, “How can the state take such a decision when there is no census available for the OBC community?” Condemning the move, senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Friday wrote a letter to the CM requesting him to withdraw the decision.

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