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Marathas from Marathwada are originally OBCs, should get tag back, says BJP MP

State BJP president Raosaheb Danve’s statement irks OBCs who are against dilution of their quota for Marathas

mumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2018 00:35 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Members of the Maratha community gathered outside the collector’s office in Bandra on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Amid the ongoing agitation for reservation, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president and MP Raosaheb Danve on Thursday said Marathas from Marathwada were under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category when central Maharashtra was in the Hyderabad province, but lost this status after Maharashtra was formed in the 1960s.

He said the reservation issue could be resolved if these Marathas get back this lost tag and are once again classified as ‘kunbis’. The Maratha community in Maharashtra is split into two categories – Marathas and kunbi Marathas. The kunbi Marathas or the peasant class falls under the OBC category. In Konkan as well as Vidarbha, most Marathas come under the kunbi category and get the benefit of reservation.

“Marathas are not considered OBCs only in some parts of western Maharashtra and entire Marathwada. When we were part of the Hyderabad province, we were counted as kunbis and considered OBC. After this region was made a part of Maharashtra in the 1960s, we lost that tag. Our community’s demand is that we should get this reservation back,” said Danve.

“If Marathas are treated as kunbis and they get reservation, the community in Marathwada will be pacified,” he said, adding that the government would make this as one of its premise to seek reservation for the community in the high court after the Backward Class Commission report is submitted.

Danve was speaking to Marathi news channel Zee 24 Taas in Delhi, in the backdrop of the protests for reservation in the state. This statement, however, could land Danve and his party into trouble, as it is unlikely to go down well with the OBC. OBCs make up for more than 50% of the population in the state and form a support base for the BJP. They have 27% political reservation in the Centre and 19% reservation in jobs and education in the state. The community has opposed any kind of dilution to their quota to favour Marathas.

“This is how erroneous statements are made by politicians to polarise castes. The Centre has laid down certain parameters for being declared as OBC. The Maratha community does not meet those parameters,” said Babanrao Tayade from the National OBC Federation.

“If such proofs or evidence existed, then why were Marathas not included in OBC category by the Mandal commission or the commissions before and after that. We are against such a move,” said Tayade.

First Published: Aug 10, 2018 00:33 IST