The attempt meant to appease seems to be backfiring.
This could well be said about the state government’s plan to reserve 90 per cent seats in junior colleges for the state’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Board’s students.
The governments intention to bring in a 90:10-quota system was an attempt to please parents of SSC students. It was based on the argument that there are 3.5 lakh local students studying in the SSC Board as opposed to 20,000 from the ICSE and CBSE Boards.
For over a week, state Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe- Patil has been insisting that the 90:10 quota would be implemented.
However, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan chose to tread cautiously. His view that the government should revert to the old admission system came after legal experts told the government the 90:10 quota would not be constitutionally valid.
Though Chavan supported Vikhe-Patil over the issue of online admissions for junior colleges, he did not want to take any more risks.
“The chief minister seems very prudent and his view is apt considering that [assembly] elections are around the corner,” said political scientist with the Mumbai University, B. Venkatesh Kumar. “The 90:10 quota had an undercurrent of the so-called locals-versus-others agenda and the Congress being a national party would not want to indulge in it.”
Kumar said such a faux pas would rob the Congress of its ‘progressive party’ image.
However, the Shiv Sena and MNS, which are supporting the quota may dig their heels into the issue putting the Congress-led government in a sticky situation.
“These parties will not leave the issue easily,” Kumar said.