Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar today said the state government will approach the Supreme Court once the committee formed to collect empirical data for the OBC quota submits its report to the government next month.
Noting that the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Madhya Pradesh government to hold local body polls with the OBC quota, Mr Pawar said the Maharashtra government has also started taking steps to see if such a decision can be applicable to Maharashtra as well.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the state government should study the Madhya Pradesh Backward Class Commission's final report on the basis of which local body polls were allowed there with OBC quota, and that it could serve as a "guide" for the western state.
Talking to reporters here, Pawar said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) government will make efforts till the last moment to see that the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) get representation in the coming local body polls in the state.
"The committee formed under (former chief secretary Jayant) Banthia to collate empirical data of the OBCs is working. When it submits its report in June, we will present our side before the court," Mr Pawar said.
The Maharashtra government will not let the total reservation cross the ceiling of 50 per cent when it tries to ensure political quota for the OBCs, he said.
"We have started working in that direction. We have spoken to the officials concerned. They also seemed positive," the Deputy Chief Minister said.
The Maharashtra government has studied the data as submitted by Madhya Pradesh before the Supreme Court, he said.
"They submitted data on reservation given earlier in the local body polls held there. The (Maharashtra) government will try till the last moment to see OBCs get representation in the polls. Our efforts will go on till the last day of filling form," the NCP leader said.
Asked about Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole's allegation that all the MVA partners should have been taken into confidence while drafting the ward structure for the polls to civic bodies, Mr Pawar said he did not know how much substance was there in Mr Patole's comments.
"I don't want to talk more about it," he said.
Ward structuring was done under the State Election Commission's leadership and suggestions and objections were also sought before the panel took a decision on it, Mr Pawar said.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Sawant said Maharashtra should seek the Madhya Pradesh Backward Class Commission's final report on the basis of which local body polls were allowed there with the OBC quota.
"This divine report should be sought and studied as it will be a guide for Maharashtra," Mr Sawant tweeted.
He said the MP Backward Class Commission was set up by the (previous) Kamal Nath government, hence (present Madhya Pradesh CM) Shivraj Singh Chouhan set up a separate three-member commission.
"It doesn't have its own office and staff. The first report was prepared on May 5," he said. Referring to some media reports, Mr Sawant pointed out that this commission's chairman had said more research and investigation work was pending.
On May 10, the Supreme Court refused to see the report saying mere preparation of the first report cannot be regarded as complete compliance with the 'triple test' requirement, Mr Sawnat said referring to the court judgement.
Two days later, the MP government submitted its final report. The top court did not say the report is correct, the Congress leader said in a tweet while tagging the Supreme Court order.
He claimed that in Madhya Pradesh political circles, there is criticism that the survey (for OBC population) was "invisible" as the report was not shown to anyone.
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