Agitation for Maratha reservation likely to intensify in Maharashtra from today
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. Maratha Kranti Morcha staged an agitation in Beed on Saturday under the leadership of 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.
Maratha leader and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, a descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, will attend a function at Raigad fort on the occasion of coronation day anniversary of the Maratha warrior king on Sunday. He is likely to announce the next move from the fort on Sunday. He, however, has appealed to the community members not to head to the fort and crowd there amid the pandemic.
The MP had given an ultimatum to the government after putting forward three 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. He also had demanded other benefits such as hostel facilities and scholarships for the community’s students and revival of Sarthi – a Pune based institute – to ensure educational and social well-being of the Maratha youth.
Meanwhile, Virendra Pawar of Maratha Kranti Morcha, said, “The government has not done anything despite assurances on the benefits and welfare schemes. There is unrest among the community leaders and members. We have been demanding a speedy decision on the issuance of the appointment letters to the community youth who have completed the recruitment procedures for government jobs. The government has been delaying it beyond limits. We are eagerly waiting to see the stand taken by Raje tomorrow,”
The top court on May 5 quashed the 12% and 13% reservation given in education and jobs to Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act 2018. The state government then appointed a committee of retired high court judge Dilip Bhosale to study the ruling and suggest a way forward. In its report submitted on Friday, the committee has recommended the government to move a review petition in the SC challenging its verdict.
BJP’s state unit chief Chandakant Patil alleged that the government has failed to take a quick action on legal steps for reservation.
“The state-appointed Dilip Bhosale committee’s recommendations are on the lines of what we have been suggesting to the government. The Centre immediately filed the review petition on SC ruling, but the Maharashtra government has not been able to do it before the deadline, which ended on Friday. The state government’s stand is doubtful,” he said.
The state government, however, said that it has been taking every possible step for the reservation.
“The review petition will be filed next week. Similarly, we are also tapping on the other measures suggested by the committee. We have already made the financial allocation for Sarthi and Annasaheb Patil Financial Development Corporation. A letter has been sent to Maharashtra Public Service Commission directing it to expedite the process of accommodating the Maratha youth who had completed the recruitment process in government jobs under EWS (Economically Weaker Section) quota. We will convince Sambhajiraje to not resort to streets and cooperate with us, as almost all his demands are acted upon,” said a Congress leader.
Congress’s Maharashtra general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant has said that the Opposition BJP is politicising the issue.
“Patil has been blaming state government for the quashing of the quota. But it was his government in the state which kept the lacunae in the reservation law. The reservation was struck down because of the 102nd Constitutional amendment by the Modi government at Centre,” he said.