On Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation day anniversary, descendent to launch agitation
Maratha leader and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, a descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, will on Sunday announce the next move over the community’s agitation for reservation in education and government jobs. Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati will attend a function at Raigad Fort in Mahad area of Raigad district of Maharashtra on the occasion of coronation day anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on Sunday.
Last month, the lawmaker gave an ultimatum to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and raised several demands, including review and curative petitions in the Supreme Court against it order to scrap the quota, as well as a petition to the Centre for the reservation. Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati also demanded other benefits such as hostel facilities and scholarships for the community’s students and revival of Pune-based SARTHI to ensure educational and social well-being of the Maratha youth.
The Supreme Court on May 5 struck down the Maharashtra law granting quota to the Maratha community in education and government jobs, saying it was "unconstitutional”. The top court said people from the community can’t be declared educationally and socially backward just to bring them in the reserved category. It also held that there were no exceptional circumstances to breach the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the 1992 Indra Sawhney case, popularly known as Mandal Commission case.
Marathas were given 12% and 13% quota in education and government jobs, respectively, under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
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The Uddhav Thackeray-led state government appointed a committee of retired high court judge Dilip Bhosale to study the ruling and suggest a way forward. The committee, in its report submitted on Friday, has recommended the government to move a review petition in the SC challenging its verdict.
Sambhaji Chhatrapati, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominated Rajya Sabha member, has also met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in May to discuss the Maratha reservation issue and urged him to take an initiative in the matter.
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Marathas are a politically influential community and constitute around 30 per cent of Maharashtra’s population. The Maratha community is likely to intensify its agitation against the Maharashtra government alleging that the regime did not take adequate steps for reservation and extending the ancillary benefits to the members in the absence of the quota.
Maratha outfits have been protesting to push for the reservation and on Saturday, the Maratha Kranti Morcha staged an agitation in Beed under Vinayak Mete, the chief of Shiv Sangram party, which is a BJP ally. Mete said that the community will come out on the streets in large numbers as the state government is indifferent towards its sentiments.
The state government, however, said that it has been taking every possible step for the reservation. Congress’ Maharashtra general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant has said that the opposition BJP is politicising the issue.