The Akhil Bhartiya Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad (ABMPSP) led by senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhubal announced to hold protests in Maharashtra starting today. The protest marches will begin from North Maharashtra and Central Maharashtra. They will be in demand of political reservation for the OBC communities in the local governing bodies in the state.
Additionally, they are discussing the issue with several other organisations that represent the OBCs(Other Backward Classes) to bring them together for protest. The organisation decided this at its executive meeting in Nashik on Tuesday.
These local bodies comprise gram panchayats, district councils, municipal councils, and municipal corporations. According to Bhujbal, this verdict would affect almost 65,000 OBC-reserved seats across such bodies across the state if not reviewed.
Where will the protests take place?
Balasaheb Kardak, Chief, ABMPSP North Maharashtra, said, "We have decided to hold protests in Nashik, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Dhule from tomorrow onwards. We will be holding 'raasta roko' and will submit a memorandum to the district collectors with the demand of restoring political reservation to the OBC. We will also be holding talks with all those elected representatives who have got the benefit of political reservations so that the issue can be raised from local bodies to the state assembly and the Parliament," reported Hindustan Times.
What is the protest about?
On March 4, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled out that the reservation for OBC in the local political bodies should not exceed the 50% cap in the reservation quota.
Following this, they directed the Maharashtra State Government to appoint a commission to collect first-hand data. This data would be used to determine the reservation quota of the community.
However, this meant that local bodies would have no seat reserved for the OBC community in the upcoming elections for at least this year or till the state completes the entire process. After this, the state approached the SC for review. But the review was dismissed by the court on May 28.
Later, the state has decided to file a second revision. They would ask for some time to gather the data from the court, given the COVID situation. Moreover, the state will also request SC to permit them to conduct the elections with OBC reservation, with a rider that those will not exceed the 50% cap.
They took this decision in a high-profile meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and attended by senior ministers like Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Wadettiwar, and officials.
Has the commission been set up?
Before collecting data by the commission as directed by SC, the state law and judiciary department should examine its legal validity. Requesting anonymity, a minister said, "The decision has been put on hold until the law and judiciary department examines its legal aspects."
In this matter, Thackrey has already held three meetings till date. In of these, they discussed its legal details with senior lawyer Kapil Sibal. Reportedly, Bhujbal has also raised the matter in a meeting with PM Modi.