Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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BMC polls likely after monsoon?

While the Supreme Court will on May 17 hear the SEC’s plea for holding local body polls post monsoon, a dedicated OBC commission headed by the state’s former chief secretary, Jayant Banthia, has announced its whirlwind schedule of public hearings to be held across the state. These are to collate empirical data to be presented before the SC to get the OBCs’ political reservation in the local body elections restored. 

The commission’s quick filing of the report is important to the state’s efforts for quota restoration, because the apex court has directed the state election commission (SEC) to hold elections pending its decision on quota. However, the SEC has submitted to the court that conducting polls during the rainy season would be difficult because of logistical, manpower and administrative issues. The court will decide on the plea on May 17, the day poll-going municipal corporations, including Mumbai, and municipal councils will publish their final ward boundaries. A decision in favour of the SEC would push the elections to September and October, and also give the state breathing period to present its case in the SC.  

On Friday, the five-member Banthia Commission said it will meet organisations and individuals to know their opinion on the political backwardness of OBCs and the need for a quota, which was 27 per cent before being stayed by the court. The commission has already met political parties. It will now go on a rapid journey to the revenue divisional headquarters between May 21 and May 28, covering twice two HQs in a single day. It will be available in Pune (May 21), Aurangabad and Nashik (May 22), Navi Mumbai (May 25), Amravati and Nagpur (May 28).

Sources said the commission’s report was expected at the end of June. The SEC has assured the SC of completing the pre-polling arrangement by July 31, but expressed its inability to carry forward the remaining process including nominations and polling during the monsoon. So, it is going to be a game of probabilities because everything depends on the SC’s May 17 decision.

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