The reservation of wards for the August 10 panchayat elections notified by the State Election Commission (SEC) has triggered a wave of dissensions and angst, notably within the ranks of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including a Cabinet minister.
Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte was the most notable political leader to publicly slam the SEC for the reservations and demanded corrections.
"The SEC must act responsibly. Due corrections need to be made in the reservation of wards to ensure proper justice prevails," Khaunte asserted.
According to Khaunte, political cadres working at the grassroot level and aspiring to contest are getting restive and negative sentiment is building up among them over the reservations done by the SEC for women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Khaunte alleged that the reservations notified by the SEC lacked judicious logic or justification. He said, the OBC community is not given any reservation and quotas for SCs and STs are also not proportionate to their population in the panchayats of Bardez taluka.
Khaunte also said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been sounded out on the matter and urged to intervene.
The SEC had on Friday notified reservation of wards for SCs, STs and women categories, notably skirting the contentious issue of giving any quotas for OBCs in view of the recent Supreme Court judgement which mandated a new benchmark popularly referred to as "triple test".
The SEC notification meets the Constitutional quota of 33% for women whereas in the case of SCs and STs it has followed the quota-proportionate-to-population criteria.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an alliance partner in the Sawant-led government, has also objected to the reservations notified by the SEC.
MGP president, Deepak Dhavalikar, who is the younger brother of Power Minister Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar, said there are several "mistakes" in the ward reservations done by the SEC.
"On Monday MGP will present a letter to the SEC pinpointing the errors, especially with reference to reservation for women," the junior Dhavalikar said, adding that rectification of the mistakes will be sought.