BJP to beat opposition to punch by tabling bill
Party intends to show its support to the movement ahead of the silent march scheduled in Nagpur on December 14
The agitation in Mumbai. File pic
On the second day of the ongoing winter session of the state legislature, the ruling BJP intends to turn the tables on its opposition by tabling a motion to grant 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in education and jobs.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis confirmed the decision while speaking to mid-day on Monday. "We will table the motion and seek views of all parties. We have been saying that we are ready to discuss the issue any given time," he said.
The move has been decided upon in light of knowledge that Marathas across the state are planning to stage a silent march on December 14 in the state's second capital and that the opposition was planning to take advantage of the movement. Over the last few months, the community has been agitating for the reservation, and the organisers had even warned the government that failing a favourable outcome, they would march to Mantralaya in Mumbai early next year.
Sources said Ashish Shelar — BJP's Maratha leader and Mumbai unit chief — will initiate the debate on Tuesday, first outlining the government's efforts to make a credible case in the Bombay high court that is going to be hearing a case related to Maratha reservation. Then, a host of speakers from the BJP have been asked to make speeches to support the motion.
Trigger for agitation
The community's protest was triggered after the gangrape and murder of a Maratha minor girl by Dalit youths in Kopardi (Ahmednagar) in July this year. They complained that whenever they tried to complain against such crimes by Dalits, they were threatened with the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Marathas are not only demanding stern punishment for the accused in the rape case, but also want a review of the law. In addition, the community is also miffed that even though they were granted job and education quota by the Congress-NCP regime, the reservation didn't hold up in court.
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