Legislative assembly

Maharashtra Assembly adjourned twice as MVA govt and BJP blame each other over OBC quota issue

On Friday, the MVA government and the opposition BJP blamed each other in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the Supreme Court’s rejection of the interim report of the state’s Backward Classes Commission, which recommended that a quota of 27% can be awarded to the community in local polls. in the state.

Due to chants shouted by members, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal adjourned the House twice – once for 20 minutes and later until the end of Question Time. As soon as the Lower House met for the day, the issue of Other Backward Class (OBC) quotas was raised by Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis through a notice of adjournment.

The former chief minister demanded that the issue be taken up for discussion and the rest of the matter be set aside. He said there should be no elections to local state bodies until the OBC political quota is reinstated. Fadnavis called the commission’s interim report, which was rejected by the Supreme Court, a mockery.

“The report contains no date on the data collection and bears no signature. State attorneys did not explain on what basis the 27% quota was recommended,” he said. In the coming days, two-thirds of local state bodies will have to go to the polls and if they take place without the OBC quota, the community will not get any representation, he added.

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“What happened in the Supreme Court is shameful for Maharashtra,” Fadnavis said, and demanded that the state enact a law allowing it to set dates for local body elections. Maharashtra Minister of Food and Civil Supplies and prominent OBC leader, Chhagan Bhujbal admitted that there might be technical errors in the report as it was compiled quickly.

In 2010, the Supreme Court had requested the compilation of empirical data regarding OBC political backwardness information. The UPA government had started the process of collecting the data submitted in 2016, but the Modi government did not share the data with the state, he said.

“Even Fadnavis, who was chief minister of the state for five years, did nothing on this front,” Bhujbal claimed. “Neither you nor the Modi government took any further action and now you are blaming us,” he said and accused Fadnavis of indulging in politics. After Bhujbal’s statement, Zirwal said he rejected the adjournment notice and asked for Question Time.

But BJP lawmakers started shouting slogans, after which the House was adjourned for 20 minutes. But when the debates resumed after that, the shouting of slogans continued, due to which they were adjourned for the second time until the end of question time. The Supreme Court said Thursday that it was “not possible” to authorize an authority to act on the recommendation made in the interim report of the state’s Backward Classes Commission, which said that until 27% reservations could be granted to OBCs in local bodies in Maharashtra, subject to the total quota not exceeding the 50 percent limit.

The Supreme Court said that the report itself mentions that it was prepared in the absence of empirical studies and research by the commission. The higher court ordered everyone involved not to act on the commission’s interim report. On January 19, the Supreme Court had ordered the state government to submit data on OBCs to the commission to review their accuracy and make recommendations on their representation in local body elections.

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