ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTING other backward classes (OBC) in Maharashtra on Tuesday threatened to take out a statewide rally in Mumbai on February 25 demanding reservation in proportion to their population. OBC leaders have decided to take their protest forward under the banner of the OBC & VJNT Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, an extension of the already existing OBC Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti. Prakash Anna Shendge, a senior OBC leader, has been named the leader of the new organisation at a meeting held in Mumbai recently. VJNT stands for Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes.
The Samiti plans to reach out to OBC leaders across party lines, including in the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, BJP and others. It also plans to seek support of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In Maharashtra, the OBCs get 27 per cent reservation in educational institutions and government jobs. They are also entitled to reservation in the local bodies elections.
“We are planning a massive statewide rally on February 25 at Vidhan Bhavan. Our demand is that OBCs, which constitute 52 per cent of the population, should get more reservation,” said OBC Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti president Chandrakant Bavkar. The state government has convened a week-long interim budget session from February 25. The rally will coincide with the session in Mumbai.
This comes is in wake of the Centre’s decision to give 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward among the general category as well as the state government’s decision to give 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas.
While maintaining that they were not against reservation enjoyed by others, OBC organisations maintained that they are entitled to more quota when their population is taken into consideration. OBC leader Anil Mahajan said, “The OBCs constitute 52 per cent of the state population. Therefore, 27 per cent reservation is not justified.”
OBC leaders said that there was a growing fear that the state government, while extending reservation to forward communities, was undermining the backward categories. The organisations also plan to take up the matter in court, said Bavkar.