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Ahead of special session, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange calls for unity

Updated on: 20 February,2024 04:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Urges Maratha ministers and legislators from across parties to raise their voices for the quota demand

Ahead of special session, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange calls for unity

Maratha community leader Manoj Jarange Patil. File pic

Even as the government is prepared to formulate a law to provide a separate quota to Marathas at a special session of the state legislature on Tuesday, the community’s leader Manoj Jarange Patil has advised Maratha ministers and legislators to speak out against the demand that the Maratha quota be shared with the Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation. He said the government could not stall the allotment of the Kunbi certificates to eligible Marathas and their blood relatives while going for an independent quota.

“It is the demand of crores of Marathas. They want a quota (in jobs and education) in the OBC category. We request Maratha ministers and legislators across all parties to raise their voices for the demand. And if they don’t do it, we will consider them as being anti-Maratha. They don’t need to speak about breaching a cap of 50 per cent for the Maratha quota,” he said from Antarwali Sarati where he has been fasting for 10 days.

It is said that the government, after accepting the report of the Maharashtra Backward Class Commission, will table a draft bill for giving Marathas a special quota, and debate it on Tuesday itself. If possible, the bill will be passed the same day or taken up at the budget session beginning on February 27. However, an agitated Jarange Patil said the government will have to deal with the Kunbi certificate issue first. “The government, ministers and MLAs can’t ignore it. The government had issued a gazette notification in this regard. It will have to pass the notification in the house first, instead of taking up a separate quota for Marathas,” he added.

Marathas are not upbeat about crossing the 50 per cent cap because such an attempt was dismissed twice by the courts. The Bombay High Court had dismissed it in 2014 but approved it four years later with a cut. However, the Supreme Court set aside the HC’s approval saying that the government could prove extraordinary circumstances that warranted a quota for Marathas. The SC is yet to hear the government’s curative petition.

The current government had asked the backward class commission to conduct a survey to create empirical data for the quota. The commission’s report was accepted last week and a special session of the legislature was announced to discuss the Marathas’ demands that came to the fore again through a massive agitation led by Jarange Patil.

Govt under pressure

The government is under pressure because the OBCs want their quota intact. The OBC leaders have asked to go beyond a permissible limit of 50 per cent for the overall social reservation to fulfil Marathas’ demand. CM Eknath Shinde said the special session will discuss a permanent solution - a quota that will be legal and not harm the others’ quota. He did not comment on the Kunbi certificate issue. MNS president Raj Thackeray said the Maratha quota was entirely the Centre’s subject because the state had already failed on a technical ground that the Centre alone could rectify. “I had told the community (during his visit to Jarange) that it would not get the quota.”

Give Muslims 5% quota: SP MLA

Samajwadi Party legislator Rais Shaikh on Monday wrote to CM Eknath Shinde demanding that five per cent reservation must be given to Muslims at the earliest to eradicate the backwardness of the community. Shaikh demanded that the state government bring a law immediately to provide reservations to Muslims. Shaikh, in his letter, highlighted that the then Congress-NCP government had given reservation to Muslims through an ordinance, and the Bombay HC had upheld the five per cent reservation in education for Muslims.  “But, the state government hasn’t brought in a law to ensure the implementation of the reservation. It is a gross injustice to the community, which has been fighting for their rightful reservation for decades. There is a lot of resentment among the community for not getting our due. It is high time that the government provides reservation,” said Shaikh.

No of days Jarange has been fasting for

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