Updated: June 21, 2021 9:15:50 pm
Maharashtra Social Welfare Minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Monday urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to postpone all local self-government body polls due in the next few months in the state unless the issue of OBC reservation is resolved.
The minister’s statement came two days after he said that a review petition will be filed in the Supreme Court on its verdict to quash the reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) category in local bodies’ polls.
He said if the polls were not postponed, the OBC leaders in the state would “not allow them to take place”.
The elections to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are due in February next year.
“The state government should not allow the local self government body polls to be held till the issue of OBC reservation is decided (upon). NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and I have met CM Uddhav Thackeray in this connection and urged him to postpone the polls…,” Wadettiwar said.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said he would urge the SC to direct the Central government to provide the required empirical data to the state government so that it could be placed before the apex court.
Wadettiwar said Thackeray was “positive” about postponing the polls and expressed hope that a decision in the regard will be announced soon. “If the polls are not postponed, we (OBC leaders in state) will not allow them to take place,” he warned the government.
OBC leaders from across the state are also slated to meet in Lonavala on June 26 and 27 to deliberate on the steps that need to be taken to get political reservations for the OBCs.
On March 4 this year, the Supreme Court had read down Section 12(2) (c) of The Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 as an enabling provision, stating that it may be invoked only upon complying with the “triple conditions” before notifying the seats reserved for OBC category in the local bodies concerned.
The conditions included setting up a dedicated Commission to conduct “contemporaneous rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness qua local bodies, within the State”. The court stated that such reservation, in any case, should not exceed the aggregate of 50 per cent of the total seats reserved in favour of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and OBC categories.
Officials from the State Election Commission said that following the apex court order, all the OBC seats of the local bodies, which were conditional to the outcome of the SC petitions, have been vacated and converted into open category.
Earlier, poll panel secretary Kiran Kurundkar, had told this paper: “The SC judgment is applicable to the elections of all local bodies — rural and urban. The election commission will consult with the state government whenever the local bodies’ polls are held and will decide on the OBC reservation as per the SC order.”
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