Put off bypolls to ZPs, samitis to avoid any loss to OBCs: Chhagan Bhujbal

Chhagan Bhujbal. File.   | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

A day after the State Election Commission announced bypolls to five zilla parishads and 33 panchayat samitis seats rendered vacant after the Supreme Court scrapped political reservation for OBCs in local bodies, a Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has demanded their postponement.

Senior OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Wednesday said mistakes made by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had resulted in the reservation being scrapped and the Central government refused to share empirical data on OBCs, which would have helped the case in the court.

“The previous government issued an ordinance on July 31, 2019, where it mentioned that the OBCs will be given reservation as per its proportion within the limit of 50%. But on realising the need of census data, he wrote to Rajeev Kumar of NITI Ayog on August 1 seeking empirical data. Various letters from different departments were written but the Centre did not give information,” he said presenting documents.

Mr. Fadnavis could not get hold of the data though the Central government is being run by the BJP. “This ordinance by the Fadnavis government has led to the present mess.” He said the byelections should be postponed to avoid any loss to the OBCs.

Voting will be held for 70 ZP seats in Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim and Nahpur and in 130 seats in 33 panchayat samitis. Interestingly, another OBC Minister Vijay Vadettiwar on Monday had claimed that the government will not go ahead with the elections. The apex court had quashed the State government’s review petition after it quashed the political reservation for the OBCs for violating 50% ceiling.

Mr. Fadnavis said the State government’s negligence had led to the issue. The BJP delegation which met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said the State government was holding the monsoon session for only two days citing COVID-19. “How can they hold the elections?” asked Mr. Fadnavis. He said if the government is determined to conduct the polls, the BJP will field only OBC candidates.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 7:26:42 PM |

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