Fadnavis Says SC Order Slap for Maha Govt; Monsoon Could Be Hurdle, Thorat Says

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said the Supreme Court’s direction to the Maharashtra government to conduct elections to municipal corporations was a “tight slap” to the Shiv Sena-led government, but it would also cause a political setback to the OBC community. The state BJP also said it will give 27 per cent tickets to OBC candidates in coming civic elections though there is no OBC quota as of now. Congress leader and state revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, on the other hand, said the election body will have to take several factors including the coming monsoon season in consideration while chalking out schedule for civic polls.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that the election schedule for the civic polls in Maharashtra be announced in two weeks, even as the state government had earlier said that polls would be held after the political quota for the OBCs was approved. Elections to 23 municipal corporations, over 25 zilla parishads and panchayat samitis and gram panchayats in their jurisdiction are due.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Fadnavis, a former chief minister, said several municipal corporations have completed their five-year term and are functioning under administrator. “Today’s Supreme Court order is a tight slap to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress) government in the state,” the BJP leader stated.

“It is good that local bodies will go to the polls, however, it would cause a major political loss to the OBCs. OBCs lost their political quota because of the inefficiency of the MVA government,” he further said The onus of the political loss of OBCs would entirely be on the MVA government as it did not present necessary data before the apex court, Fadnavis alleged.”The SC even asked the Maharashtra government how long it intends to keep the judiciary waiting,” he said.

Minister Thorat said practical issues like the coming monsoon season, especially in Mumbai and Konkan region, need to be taken into consideration while deciding the election schedule for local bodies.”Sowing operations will also start in rural areas. The state election commission will take appropriate decision. Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) had held all-party meetings regarding the OBC quota and nobody can be blamed,” the Revenue Minister said.

“The issue will be discussed in the state cabinet,” he said, adding that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) was not afraid of elections. A three-judge bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka, and C T Ravikumar said on Wednesday that the delimitation as it existed prior to March 11, 2022, be taken as notional delimitation for the conduct of overdue elections. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil announced that his party would field 27 per cent candidates from the OBC community in the civic polls.

“BJP will provide 27 per cent quota to OBC candidates. Although there will not be any official quota for OBC candidates, the party has decided to field OBC candidates in the election,” Patil said.”It is also clear now that the Maharashtra government will have to conduct the elections of municipal corporations without the OBC quota. It also underscores the fact that the current Maharashtra government has back-stabbed the OBC community,” he said.

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