State local body polls only after OBC quota is restored

Unanimous decision at all-party meeting chaired by CM

An all-party meeting on Friday unanimously agreed not to hold elections till the reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local civic bodies in Maharashtra is restored.

“All parties are unanimous on the demand that political reservation for OBCs must be restored in local civic bodies. It is a general consensus to not hold polls until the reservation is restored. We have received suggestions on what can be done, and based on that a final all-party meeting will be held next Friday,” said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The Supreme Court had scrapped the political reservation for OBCs observing that the total reservation was crossing the 50% mark.

Since then, political parties and OBC organisations in the State have been demanding its restoration.

By-polls have also been postponed following demands from Ministers in the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress. Review petitions filed by the State government have been dismissed by the apex court.

“Reservation in 20 districts of the State has not been affected. There will be some modifications in the rest of the districts. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday and we are all in agreement that the reservation must continue,” said Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole.

Senior Minister and OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal said that the government was trying to acquire empirical data on OBCs. “Going above 50% mark would also mean presenting the case in front of the court. We have to decide on that. If we remain inside the limit, then reservation will continue but OBC seats in some places may come down,” he said.

Former chief minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the government had set up backward class commission which should focus on collecting empirical data. “Quantification can be done on the basis of samples, for which census is not required,” he said.

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