Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was detained in Nagpur on Saturday during a demonstration in support of reservation for Other Backward Classes in local governing bodies.
The demonstration was a part of the BJP’s state-wide protests demanding the restoration of 27% reservation for OBCs.
In Mumbai, the police detained former Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan, Mumbai BJP President Mangal Prabhat Lodha and and MLA Rahul Narvekar, according to ANI. They had been planning to march to the secretariat.
Fadnavis, who is also the leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, accused the state’s ruling coalition, the Maha Vikas Aghadi, of misleading people by promising to raise the reservation matter in the Parliament, PTI reported.
“The fact is that this issue can be resolved at the state level,” he said. “The state government can restore the reservation by formulating a law. There is no need for any act of the Central government. That is why OBC reservation is prevalent in other states except in Maharashtra.”
Fadnavis’ party colleague Kalidas Kolambakar differed with him about Centre’s involvement. “The issue can be solved through Centre Government’s intervention, and our leader, Devendra Fadnavis can help with the same,” he said, according to ANI. “The MVA [Maha Vikas Aghadi] leaders should come to him to take his help over the issue, but they would not come because they would rather delay it. It is a matter of credit taking for them.”
SC judgement on OBC reservation
On March 4, the Supreme Court had ruled that the number of seats reserved for OBCs and Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in local bodies should not exceed 50% of the total seats.
The court quashed notifications issued by the Maharashtra Election Commission, which provided more than 50% reservation to OBCs and SC/STs in the Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis of Washim, Akola, Nagpur and Bhandara districts.
It cancelled the elections of OBC candidates in these districts in 2019 and 2020, and ordered fresh polls. “The vacancy of seats caused on account of this declaration be forthwith filled up by the State Election Commission,” the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi had said.