A day after the state Congress president Manikrao Thakre asked chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to put on hold the recently-cleared private universities bill so that the quota for backward classes can be incorporated in the next legislative session, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) expressed its willing to accommodate the proposal of its alliance partner.
NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna said that senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal had written to the chief minister and the deputy chief minister accepting the issue raised by Congress president and requesting them to include reservations in the bill. “We wanted to include the quota provision in the current bill but the din by the opposition did not allow any discussion,” said Bafna.
The bill was moved by minister for higher and technical education Rajesh Tope and was cleared in the recently concluded monsoon session of the state legislature. The bill evoked adverse reaction from the opposition and backward communities. Some Congress ministers had also opposed the bill in the draft stage.
By conceding to amend the bill on Thursday, NCP punctured Congress’ attempt to score a brownie point on backward class reservations ahead of the upcoming zilla parishad polls.
The Congress wanted to make announcement to this effect at its state convention for the backward classes to be held at Mumbai’s Somaiyya Ground on September 25. Incidentally, NCP held its own rally for the underprivileged at the same venue a few months ago.
However, state legislature officials said that an amendment would be necessary to include any kind of reservation as that provision was missing in the original draft. Thakre welcomed NCP’s stance. “It will be good for all of us to work together on this issue,” he told HT.