MVA govt., BJP set to cross swords over OBC quota issue

Winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly begins in Mumbai from today

As the winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly begins on Wednesday, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is set for a face off with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issues of scrapping of OBC reservation in local civic bodies, arrest of former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and leak of recruitment exam papers held by various State government departments.

“The State government wasted two years by not collecting empirical data on OBCs which has led to the Supreme Court scrapping OBC reservation in local civic bodies. It is the MVA government which is responsible for the same and we will make them answerable in the House,” Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said.

The opposition boycotted the tea-party organised by State government on the eve of the session.

Mr. Fadnavis reiterated his earlier demand of handing over the probe of exam papers leak to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), claiming it has its roots in the Mantralaya.

State Minister Nawab Malik slammed the BJP saying that the issue of paper leaks goes back to the previous BJP-led State government and that is the reason why Mr. Fadnavis is asking for CBI probe.

The winter session of the Assembly is usually held in Nagpur. But this is the second time in a row when the session is being held in Mumbai owing to COVID-19 and the new threat from Omicron variant.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has been out of public eye for some time due to his surgery, will be making his presence in the session.

Mr. Thackeray virtually attended the Cabinet meeting on the eve of session on Tuesday and did not hold any press conference.

The opposition also announced to rake up the issue of law and order situation in the State and allegations of extortion against some officers in the police force. State’s former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is currently under arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money-laundering case. Mr. Deshmukh had resigned after allegations by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh that the Minister had extorted ₹100 crore from Mumbai’s hoteliers.

Extortion cases

Mr. Singh himself is facing a number of extortion cases and has been suspended by the State government. The arrest of Mr. Deshmukh and suspension of Mr. Singh are two of the issues that the BJP is likely use to attack the MVA government.

Minister Nawab Malik has been levelling serious charges against the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer Sameer Wankhede. He had also confronted Mr. Fadnavis on the issue. It is likely to resonate in the session too.

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