With an eye on the upcoming assembly elections, alliance partners Congress and NCP are working on a plan to tone down the anti-incumbency wave. Their first move involves offering 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas and 5 per cent reservation to the Muslims in jobs and education in government and semi-government sectors.
For this, the Congress-led Democratic Front government has been blamed for not doing their homework properly. Because, any decision on reservations should be based on proper study and must come from a constituted commission.
Here, in both cases, recommendations have come from state-appointed committees a cabinet sub-committee headed by Industries minister Narayan Rane for the Marathas, and a Dr Mahmood-Ur-Rahman committee for the Muslims. Experts say, in the absence of any scientific data gathered through equally sound methods, the reservation will not withstand legal scrutiny.
The Maratha community population which is considered as progressive due to its presence in politics, cooperative movements, farming etc, as claimed by Rane committee, is 32 per cent, which is based on a sample survey. It’s not that the Marathas don’t need reservations a significant population of this community is in dire straits due to unemployment, losses in farming etc.
For Muslims, too, the 5 per cent reservation will not come easily, as it may clash with earlier reservations offered to sub-castes from the communities. Lastly, the NCP is of the opinion that organisational changes can change their fortunes when they decided to appoint Sunil Tatkare, a controversial face, as its state unit chief.
Tatkare has been facing a number of allegations in the irrigation scam and a court case is underway against companies registered in the name of his family members for allegedly accepting black money. Only the election results will decide if such measures were indeed fruitful to save both parties.