HomePoliticsAs SC clears decks over OBC quota for MP Govt, Fadnavis accuses...

As SC clears decks over OBC quota for MP Govt, Fadnavis accuses MVA of ‘murdering’ OBC reservation issue in Maharashtra

BJP lambasts Maha govt’s ineptness, warns of street agitations; MVA leaders say they did all they could

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Mumbai: As the Supreme Court paved the decks for the implementation of reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the local body elections in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Madhya Pradesh, BJPs Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly in Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at the ruling ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’s’ (MVA) government’s ‘ineptness’ to complete the triple test which would have ensured reservation for the State’s OBC community ahead of the local body polls.

The former BJP chief minister remarked that the MVA’s alleged foot-dragging had virtually “murdered” OBC reservation issue in the State. Meanwhile, BJP Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pravin Darekar questioned whether the top leaders of the MVA alliance (of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress) were really interested in granting political reservation to the OBC community.

Lashing out at the MVA government, Fadnavis remarked, “This government has literally killed off the OBC reservation… It is now clear that the State government’s incompetence has brought this suffering for the OBCs. Those in responsible posts ought to be tendering their resignations.”

Accusing the MVA parties of playing petty politics instead of getting its act together on the OBC issue, the former BJP chief minister contrasted the Maharashtra government’s apparently lackluster approach to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government’s proactive approach in Madhya Pradesh.

Fadnavis further added, “The Madhya Pradesh government had prepared its empirical data on the OBC community and submitted its report to the SC, which had rejected the Maharashtra government’s consolidated report. The MP government, which constituted a dedicated commission, then immediately prepared OBC data specifically with regard to local bodies and furnished it before the Apex court. While we (BJP) have been urging the MVA government to prepare empirical data for the past two-and-a half years, its leaders did nothing but make speeches.”

As part of the so-called ‘triple test’, a dedicated commission is to be set up to conduct an empirical investigation to determine the backwardness of the community in the local bodies as a first step, while the second step concerns the panel’s recommendations specifying the proportion of reservation needed for the local body and the third step ensures that the reservation does not go over the aggregate 50% of the total seats reserved jointly for the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and OBCs.

In December last year, the Supreme Court had dismissed the Maharashtra government’s writ petition which sought the Centre to make public the raw data gathered in the 2011 socio-economic caste census (SECC-2011). The government had sought the SECC 2011 data from the Centre for implementing reservation to the OBC community in local body polls. However, the apex court quashed the plea on grounds that the Centre had already submitted that the SECC 2011 data was riddled with mistakes.

Fadnavis further said that during the first year of the MVA’s rule, the State government merely kept pointing fingers at the Centre on the issue.

“Then when they finally constituted the backward castes commission to study the OBC community, they did not fund the commission adequately. After that, they submitted a haphazard report to the court which was rejected. But we will not let this government rest easy. We will take to the streets on this issue,” warned the BJP leader.

Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde, a notable OBC face in her party, urged the MVA to ensure reservation by following the pattern adopted by the MP government.

Countering the BJP, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Nana Patole and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant wondered how was it possible for the SC to permit implementation of the OBC reservation for the MP government when until a week ago, it had told that unless the triple test formality was completed by it ‘in all respects’, no reservation for the OBCs in local bodies could be provisioned.

Patole remarked, “Until a week ago, the SC had not given the MP government permission… So, what happened in such a short span of time? Did the MP government manage to submit the empirical data as demanded by the SC within these few days? Or did the MP government conjure up some miracle? We will have to see the SC’s order.”

Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat meanwhile remarked that while the SC’s decision on permitting OBC reservation in local body polls in MP was welcome, the Maharashtra government had left no stone unturned to get reservation for the OBC community in local bodies.

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