Maharashtra govt tries to postpone elections till OBC data is available

Maharashtra govt tries to postpone elections till OBC data is available thumbnail

The Maharashtra government has asked the state election commission to postpone local body polls till the empirical data on Other Backward Communities was prepared by the Backward Class Commission. However, its validity has been questioned by a legal expert.

“The issue was brought up in the Cabinet and it was unanimously agreed that the election commission should be asked to not hold local body polls in the state till it is able to collect the empirical data,” food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal said in Mumbai on Wednesday after the Supreme Court verdict struck down the state’s 27% OBC quota for the local body polls. Bhujbal said the state would try to collect the empirical data of the OBC community within three months and the local body polls could be held after it.

Two zilla parishads and 106 gram panchayats are set to go to polls on December 21, with more local body polls to follow.

A legal expert said that the state could be getting into a bigger problem as the election commission is not bound by the state government’s request. “I don’t know who their legal advisors are. The elections cannot be postponed unless there is a national emergency. Under the Constitution, there is no provision to postpone elections once the term of the elected body is over,” professor Ulhas Bapat, an expert in Constitution law, told ET.

He also expressed doubts on the state’s ability to collect OBC’s empirical data in three months. “The Supreme Court judgment clearly says that the OBC data should be collated and compared, which means the state has to compare the backwardness of the OBC communities with other communities. This will mean that the state would not be able to collect the OBC data even if it takes six months,” Bapat said.

The state government has been under pressure since March this year after the SC struck down the 27% political quota for OBCs. The state had filed an appeal and even issued an ordinance which was also struck down. The request to the election commission could be a strategy to show that the state had done everything in its power to hold polls with the OBC quota. The political quota for the OBCs has become a hot potato for the state government as the BJP has been claiming that the state has been losing its arguments as it was ‘incompetent’ in handling the issue. OBC leaders like Bhujbal and Vijay Wadettiwar have, however, accused the Centre of deliberately creating hurdles for the state to implement the quota.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *