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Mumbai: Houses stalled as ruling parties protest Oppn boycott of all-party meet

Updated on: 11 July,2024 05:51 AM IST  |  Mumbai
A Correspondent |

BJP accuses Opposition of creating a rift between Marathas and OBCs; Oppn leader Vijay Wadettiwar in Assembly says government ‘hiding its failure’

Mumbai: Houses stalled as ruling parties protest Oppn boycott of all-party meet

(clockwise) Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange; Ameet Satam, BJP MLA; Vijay Wadettiwar, leader of Opposition in Assembly; Pravin Darekar, BJP MLC

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Mumbai: Houses stalled as ruling parties protest Oppn boycott of all-party meet

The legislature’s proceedings were stalled on Wednesday over the Maratha quota issue. The ruling party demanded answers from the Opposition for skipping an all-party meeting that was held Tuesday to find a resolution to the Maratha-OBC quota crisis. The Mahayuti’s Maratha and OBC MLAs alleged that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners were politicising the issue instead of helping the ceasefire attempts.

The ruckus led to the adjournment of the Assembly four times before Speaker Rahul Narwekar called it a day early afternoon. However, before closing, the government passed supplementary demands and a couple of bills amidst slogan shouting. The Upper House was equally chaotic. It stopped working when the members of both sides argued over the boycott and left their seats to stand in the well. Deputy chairperson Neelam Gorhe called in the marshals but had to end the day’s business before the security staff could come in.

In the Assembly, BJP’s Ameet Satam accused the Opposition of creating a rift between Marathas and OBCs. “The government called a meeting to resolve the issue, but the main Opposition parties boycotted it. They should say whether they want Marathas to share the OBC quota,” he asked. Satam further demanded an SIT probe to find out the MLAs from Marathwada, who according to him, were responsible for instigating clashes between two communities. His fellow partyman Ashish Shelar said a leader who was not an MLA was manipulating the Opposition leaders.

Opposition speak

Opposition leader Vijay Wadettiwar dismissed the charges. He wanted the government to state its policy decisions in the House, not outside it. “The government is hiding its failure. They should say if they can’t resolve the quota crisis. We will find a way out when we come to power later this year,” he said. 

MLA and state Congress President Nana Patole said there was no consensus among ministers in the Mahayuti government over the reservation issue. “Why hasn't the BJP government at the Centre and in the state given reservation to the Maratha and OBC communities?” he told reporters.

He said the allegations were wrong. “There have been all-party meetings on the reservation issue in the past. The government just has to make a decision and they should take it. What is wrong if Opposition leader Wadettiwar met Jarange and also the OBC leaders? The leader of the Opposition has fulfilled his duty,” he added.

‘Everyone has been exposed’

In the Council, BJP’s Pravin Darekar raised the issue. He protested the Opposition’s boycott and demanded to know why senior leaders like Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray skipped an all-party meeting. “Everyone has been exposed now,” he said even as the MLCs from both sides shouted slogans and entered the well. Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange said that both sides in the Legislature were opposed to his demand for the OBC quota for Marathas. “Opposition leaders should have asked the government to give Marathas a share in the OBC quota. They should stop using us for their politics,” he told reporters in Marathwada.

The issue

Jarange and his supporters don’t want an independent 10 per cent quota in education and jobs for Marathas because they strongly feel that the law pertaining to this won’t stand scrutiny in the court. They say previous laws that were similar in nature were scrapped by the court. Instead, they want the government to issue all Marathas, including their close relatives, a certificate of the Kunbi caste that falls in the OBC category.

The OBCs, a group of several castes, are opposed to the demand, because the inclusion of Marathas, one of the single largest communities, will decrease their stakes, and affect the existing eligible beneficiaries. To counter Jarange’s indefinite fast, a group of OBC leaders had begun a similar agitation. The Maratha vs OBCs tussle was seen in the electoral field of Lok Sabha.

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