Opposition: Why not Muslim quota

Updated: Nov 20, 2018, 08:21 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Wants BJP govt to give Marathas reservation that would stand legal scrutiny

Opposition: Why not Muslim quota
Legislators Arif Naseem Khan and Aslam Patel, with Nitesh Rane, demanding reservation for Muslims, too

A day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis declared that the Maratha community would be given a quota in jobs and education as a specially-created category, the Opposition demanded the reinstatement of a reservation for the Muslims that was given by the previous government.

Congress's Muslim legislators Arif Naseem Khan and Aslam Patel, along with Nitesh Rane, raised the demands on the sidelines of the legislative session that began Monday. Many other Opposition legislators joined them in the demand and raised slogans.

Khan, Patel and Rane said some 200 Muslim representatives had travelled from Solapur to Mumbai to sit on a hunger strike at Azad Maidan. The three met the protesters who wanted the government to hear them out.

In 2014, the Congress-NCP had given 5 per cent quota to Muslims and 16 per cent to Marathas. However, the Bombay High Court had scrapped the Maratha quota but upheld it for the Muslims. The BJP government carried forward the work in reinstating the Maratha reservation but dropped the idea for Muslims saying that the constitution does not allow quota on the basis of religion. Fadnavis had reiterated the argument on Sunday while making an announcement on Marathas.

Khan dismissed Fadnavis's argument. "We never demanded a quota on the basis of religion or our government did not give it that way. In fact, the Congress-NCP had created a separate class for Muslims, just like the present government claims to have done for Marathas," said Khan.

Khan said the claims that the BJP government had done much better for Muslims than the previous government was false. He said most of developmental and educational schemes were stalled and financial grants were either stopped or decreased drastically.

Include Marathas in OBC
Opposition leader in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil objected to the government's decision of creating a separate category of socially and educationally backward class (SEBC). "We want Marathas to be included in the existing OBC list and then increase the entire quantum (beyond 52 per cent) as the recommendation for Marathas. This should only stand in the court," he said.

Later, Vikhe-Patil led an Opposition delegation to the governor to demand tabling of the Backward Class Commission report in the legislature and extension of the winter session beyond two weeks.

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