Ramdas Athawale. File Pic
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday advocated the issue of Maratha reservation in Maharashtra, urging the Eknath Shinde government to study Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan which has reservations based on caste in public employment and educational institutions.
"Maratha community should get reservations. We were the first to make this demand. There is 69 pc reservation in Tamil Nadu... Rajasthan also has 62 pc reservations. In the same way, the Maharashtra government should study these two states and find some way out..," Athawale said while speaking to ANI.
In Tamil Nadu, the reservation policy had been in operation since the 1920s, with late chief minister J Jayalalithaa playing an important role in providing legislative support to the 69 per cent reservation in the 1990s. The reservation policy had been in operation since the 1920s, with late chief minister J Jayalalithaa playing an important role in providing legislative support to the 69 per cent reservation in the 1990s.
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Currently, Rajasthan has 64 per cent reservation--21 per cent for OBCs, 16 per cent for SCs, 12 per cent for STs, 10 per cent for EWS and 5 per cent for Most Backward Classes (MBC). An all-party meeting convened by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday on the Maratha quota passed a unanimous resolution requesting the agitators to maintain law and order in the state.
The members of the all-party meeting, which included Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Sharad Pawar among others, also reiterated their commitment to provide reservations for the Maratha community in the state. Athawale, further said that all parties put forward their point of view and everyone was in support of the Maratha reservation at the meeting.
"In the meeting, all parties put forward their point of view and everyone was in support of Maratha reservation...Maharashtra government must find a way," he said. However, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on Wednesday questioned the delay in the implementation of reservation by the Eknath Shinde-led government saying the political parties are no different as they have a similar bent of mind in this matter.
Addressing a press conference in Jalna, Maharashtra, Patil said, "Why do they (Maharashtra government) need time? We have been holding our patience but they need to come clean on why they need more time. What will you do with more time? Answer that and we will decide on whether to give more time to you or not."He asserted that his ongoing protest for the provision of quota for the Maratha community would continue till the demand is met.
"We won't step back from our protest unless we get a reservation. I will even go without water. I will not drink a single drop of water (till the demand is met). All parties are the same (on the quota issue). They are no different," he said. After the all-party meeting, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that everyone agreed on providing reservations to Marathas in the all-party meeting held in Mumbai and urged activist Manoj Jarange Patil to maintain peace and cooperate with the government in its efforts.
"I request Manoj Jarange Patil to have faith in the efforts of the government. This protest has started taking a new direction. The incidents of violence that have taken place and are taking place in the state are unjustified and are bringing disrepute to the movement. We strongly reject these incidents. Common people should not feel insecure. I request all to not take law into their own hands and maintain peace and cooperate with the state government," he added. The Maratha community has been protesting for their inclusion on the state's OBC list for more than two months.
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