It’s the admission season, and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is taking upon itself to ensure seats for all local Maharashtrians.
The MNS has asked all colleges run by minority trusts to give preference to local Maharashtrian students in their reserved quota. Colleges, based on the religious or linguistic minority trust they are run by, reserve 50 per cent of the seats for students from the respective community.
According to the party, these colleges tend to misuse their minority quota by selling the seats to students from open category. “Our youngsters struggle to get admission and many are even forced to drop out,” said Sudhakar Tamboli, vice-president of the MNS Students’ Wing. “These minority institutions sell their seats and leave us in a lurch.”
The MNS has dispatched letters to various colleges including SIES, Khalsa, MMK, Jai Hind, KC and Mithibai. They have also warned that failure to do “justice” to local students will result in fuelling anger among the students and their parents. “We will launch an agitation if our demands are not met,” said Tamboli.
Maharashtrian students have supported the proposal. “Since it is our state, we should be given preference,” said Ashlesha Mistry (15), a student of Indian Education Society (IES), who is awaiting her SSC result.
However, the colleges have expressed doubts over the MNS demand. “We do not mind giving priority to locals, but merit will suffer and the whole admission process will crumble,” said A.C. Vanjani, principal of Bandra’s MMK College.
Kirti Narian, principal of Jai Hind College in Churchgate, said her college has always been transparent in the admission process.
Khalsa College Principal Ajit Singh said reserving minority quota was a constitutional right, but others must not be bypassed in the process. “If the quota does not get filled, then open category students are admitted. We do not discriminate,” said Singh.