Updated: July 20, 2021 1:24:16 pm
To fight for reservation in local bodies, OBC leaders are planning street rallies in Maharashtra. The initiative has come from OBC Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti president Prakash Shendge.
The protest will be against the Centre as well as the state government for failing to protect the reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community in local bodies.
Shendge said, “There is huge unrest in the community. But nobody from the state or the Centre has been able to address our concerns. Therefore, we have to take the fight to the streets.”
The first rally will be in Baramati. the home town of NCP president Sharad Pawar and deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
An organiser of the rally said, “The idea to hold the first public rally at Baramati is to ensure leaders take note of our issues. Pawar sahab is a national leader, with considerable say at both the state and the Centre.”
Shendge said, “When we hold a rally at Baramati, it will be noticed at all levels. Baramati has that potential. However, if there is no initiative from the government after the first rally, the OBC front will hold 10 rallies in big cities across Maharashtra.”
In March 2021, the Supreme Court struck down OBC reservation in local bodies, as it exceeded the 50 per cent ceiling. The aggregate reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward cannot exceed 50 per cent, the SC held.
The ruling and the opposition parties in Maharashtra have been blaming each other for the development. While the MVA’s Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena say the Centre is to blame for not providing empirical data on the OBC population, the BJP accuses the government of not doing anything in the past 15 months to protect the OBC quota.
Shendge said, “We are looking at this issue beyond party and politics. Our OBC front is open to all leaders across party lines who support our cause.”
For the July 29 rally, the OBC front has sent invitations to prominent leaders across the state, including NCP’s Chagan Bhujbal, Nana Patole and Vijay Waddetiwar from the Congress, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, and Pankaja Munde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule from the BJP.
Earlier, during the state monsoon session this month, the state government adopted a resolution asking the Centre to provide empirical data on OBCs. However, the BJP said the resolution was a ploy to push the state’s responsibilities on to the Centre and cover up the state’s failure in protecting the OBC quota.