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Stay on OBC quota in local body polls injustice to 54 per cent population in Maharashtra: NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal

"Primarily, any decision to deny OBC reservation will not be restricted to Maharashtra. It applies to the entire country. Therefore, the Centre should also take a proactive role to restore the OBC reservation," said NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 7, 2021 4:01:42 pm
Chhagan BhujbalChhagan Bhujbal (Express file photo by Yatish Bhanu)

The Supreme Court stay on OBC reservation in local body elections will be tantamount to denying political rights to 54 per cent population in Maharashtra, said NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Tuesday.

“The core issue is can we deprive 54 per cent of the population of their political rights in a democratic system? Here the question is neither about the merit nor the technicalities of the case related to the OBC quota. The real alarming issue is can we hold local body polls without OBC reservations? Will that not amount to injustice against the sizable OBC population?” he asked.

The minister for food and civil supplies, who is also the NCPs OBC face, said: “Our petition related to OBC quota is pending before the apex court. The hearing is on December 13. We urge the court to take into consideration all socio-political aspects. At this moment what is necessary is to facilitate local body polls by accommodating OBC reservations. The nitty-gritty related to legal and technical aspects in the matter can be addressed later.”

“Primarily, any decision to deny OBC reservation will not be restricted to Maharashtra. It applies to the entire country. Therefore, the Centre should also take a proactive role to restore the OBC reservation. We have already urged the Supreme Court to direct the Centre to furnish the OBC data based on the 2011 census which is with the Centre,” he said.

Referring to the triple test advocated by the Supreme Court earlier, Bhujbal said: “The state government is committed not to disturb the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe reservation. Secondly, it has agreed not to exceed the reservation ceiling of 50 per cent. Now, The third test was to provide empirical data on OBC which is pending.”

“To compile empirical data, a team will have to survey by visiting people door to door. It is not possible to do so during the pandemic,” he said.

Bhujbal said that even the state administration and bureaucrats should be more proactive in pursuing the OBC reservation.

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