Mumbai: On Wednesday, the celebrations outside the state BJP headquarters in Mumbai was almost like the one the party had when it won five seats in the MLC elections. The celebrations post the MLC elections on June 20, were the beginning of the MVA government’s collapse and the returning of the BJP to power. On Wednesday, the comeback of Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservations cemented the BJP’s victory in the future elections and Devendra Fadnavis’ role in state politics for a long now.
On July 20, the Supreme Court allowed a 27% OBC quota in the elections for the local bodies, something that the state had been waiting for almost two years now. The Supreme Court accepted the 781-page report of the commission led by former Chief Secretary Jayant Banthia and allowed reservation for OBCs in the Nagar Panchayat, Nagar Parishad and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections.
On December 6, 2021, the Supreme Court stayed the local body polls for OBC seats in Maharashtra. This decision was taken by the Court as the then ruling MVA government was found in breach of the 50% ceiling rule.
During the two years of the MVA government and the issue pending, the state government kept on blaming the central government for the delay. When Devendra Fadnavis was in opposition, he had said, once in power, he will get the matter of OBC reservations settled within a span of four months.
However, within 20 days of his government, the stay on the OBC quota by the Supreme Court was lifted and okayed.
Fadnavis tweeted, “Very happy that #OBCReservation got restored today. The report submitted by our Government has been accepted by Hon SC. We’ve been saying this since beginning that empirical data was the only solution, but earlier Govt was busy in blaming Central Govt & acted against the OBCs.” (sic)
According to sources, the previous government did nothing concrete for the OBC quota reservations, the source said, since government formation, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis sat with all the members of the commission and made all the necessary moves required for the OBC reservations.
So how does it benefit the BJP and goes against the MVA? To sum it up in one line, the BJP has started making a lot of noise in regards to the reservation, taking credit for it, and the MVA alliance partners, are seen as someone who purposely delayed the entire reservation issue.
Chandrkant Bawankule, an OBC face of the BJP said, “The MVA could have given OBC reservation within a month, but deliberately avoided it. The leaders of MVA should now drown in ‘chullubhar’ water.”
The BJP is not leaving any stone unturned to let the people of the state, especially the OBC community, know that it was the Devendra Fadnavis government who worked to get the OBC quota back.
Now polls for the local bodies will be held, the OBC community has a huge presence in several seats, the community has been siding with BJP in most seats since a long time, but, had the elections been held now, when BJP was in power and the OBC quota not made a come back it would have impacted the party. The factors in the state work in favour of the BJP now.
The BJP knows the importance of the OBC reservations; hence, its leaders have started meetings along with celebrations. Bawankule is leading the camp, and other leaders are aiding him. With the government formation, the BJP was already in a position of benefit, now, with the OBC reservation getting a green signal from the Supreme Court, it is an added advantage for the party in the upcoming polls.