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Maharashtra: Amid heated debate, Assembly passes Bill for OBC quota in rural local bodies

After the Bill came up in the Assembly, there was a heated debate between the ruling party and the opposition.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 24, 2021 3:17:50 am
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at the Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

Amid allegations and counter-allegations between treasury and opposition benches, the Bill providing up to 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in rural local bodies was passed in the Assembly on Thursday.

After the Bill came up in the Assembly, there was a heated debate between the ruling party and the opposition.

“It will take a year or two for the State Backward Classes Commission to collect empirical data for OBC reservation. But the Commission can prepare a scientific report on OBCs being politically backward in a month or two. The state government should intervene so that the work could be started immediately and elections should not be held without OBC reservation till then,” said Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

However, NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal pointed out that the issue of OBC reservation in local bodies started in Maharashtra in 2017 during the BJP regime. “Then, there was a BJP government in the state for two years. Why was this report not prepared at that time? Why were you following up with the Centre for empirical data? You are advising us not to ask for data from the Centre but to prepare reports. There is a difference between the words and deeds of BJP regarding OBC reservation,” alleged Bhujbal.

Congress legislator Nana Patole also alleged that the issue of OBC reservation is the BJP’s fault, stating that it started in 2017.

The Bill was passed after Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif intervened, saying it is time correct the mistakes. “What is the use of blaming each other for past mistakes? It is time to correct them,” he said.

The OBC reservation in local bodies in the state was stayed after a Supreme Court order. In its order on March 4, the SC had stayed elections on the OBC seats in Maharashtra and asked the government to fulfil the triple test before notifying the seats reserved for the OBC category.

The SC’s triple test includes setting up a dedicated commission for collecting empirical data on the OBC population, specifying the proportion of reservation and ensuring that the cumulative share of reserved seats does not breach 50 per cent of total seats.

 

 

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