The opposition BJP announced Friday a state-wide chakka jam (motor vehicle strike) on June 26 to protest against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s “failure” to retain the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation in local bodies elections in Maharashtra.
BJP general secretary Chandrashekhar Bawankule and party’s all-India secretary Pankaja Munde said the party, in a meeting of its OBC leaders, decided to hold ‘chakka jam’ at 1,000 places across the state.
The Supreme Court recently rejected the Maharashtra government’s revision petition seeking restoration of OBC reservation in panchayat and other local bodies polls. Terming it “extremely unfortunate”, Bawankule said, “On July 31, 2019, the then Devendra Fadnavis-led government had issued an ordinance to sanction OBC quota in local bodies polls. After coming to power, the MVA government did not initiate any move and allowed the ordinance to lapse on December 13, 2019. Despite repeated suggestions from the Supreme Court to present empirical data to justify the OBC reservation above 50 per cent, the MVA government failed to deliver. As a result, in March 2021, the Supreme Court after observing that state was just bidding time without any action decided to scrap the OBC reservation in local bodies polls.”
Earlier, Congress minister Vijay Wadettiwar had announced to convene a two-day brainstorming session on OBC reservation at Lonavala on June 26 and 27, while senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal, too, launched a protest under the ‘Samata Parishad’ banner demanding enforcement of OBC quota in civic elections.
Terming Wadettiwar and Bhujbal’s protest empty rhetoric, Bawankule said, “They are cabinet ministers and can take up the matter in the cabinet and force government to act. All this street protest by MVA ministers is a farce.”
Cancellation of the OBC political reservation is likely to impact nearly 56,000 seats of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis, nagar panchayats and other local governing bodies.