Vikhe Patil advised Bhujbal to exercise patience as his stand sends out a message that there was no uniformity in the state government over the Maratha reservation issue
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. File Pic
In the wake of Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal's demand to disband the Justice Sandeep Shinde (retired) committee on the Maratha quota issue, his cabinet colleague Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Wednesday said the NCP leader should resign as a minister before making such statements.
He advised Bhujbal to exercise patience as his stand sends out a message that there was no uniformity in the state government over the Maratha reservation issue.
Bhujbal on Monday demanded a stay on Kunbi caste certificates issued to Marathas and disbanding of the panel, saying it has done its job of identifying records in the Marathwada region.
Bhujbal is leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. He is Food and Civil Supplies Minister.
Speaking to reporters in Kolhapur, BJP leader and Revenue Minister Vikhe Patil said Bhujbal is a senior leader and he should be patient.
"The state government has already clarified its stand on the agitation by Manoj Jarange on the issue of Maratha reservation. The state government has made it clear that without touching any (other community's) reservation, the Maratha community will be given quota," Vikhe Patil said.
However, an agitation in the name of OBCs (led by Bhujbal) is unwarranted.
"Had the government taken the decision to give Marathas reservation under the OBC category, I would have understood his stand (on his agitation ). The OBC vs Maratha dispute is absurd. Bhujbal is a senior leader and he should be patient. Today, people talk respectfully about him, but (if it continues) a demand seeking action against him will have to be made," he said.
When asked about Bhujbal's demand for scrapping of the Shinde committee, he said Bhujbal should first resign from the cabinet and then make such a statement.
"Such a stand raises questions over the credibility of the state government's honest efforts as it sends a message among masses that there is no uniformity in the stand of the government. So either he should resign or the CM and government should think of taking some different stand on him," he said.
Bhujbal is a senior leader and such things are not expected from him, Vikhe Patil said.
"Maratha community is seeking quota in education and jobs and what is wrong in that demand, but the OBC issue is being raised unnecessarily. The real question is whether Bhujbal genuinely wants to safeguard the OBC reservation or he just wants to do his own rehabilitation," he said.
As the agitation for the Maratha reservation led by activist Manoj Jarange was on, the state government set up the five-member panel headed by Justice Shinde (retired) to decide the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for giving Kunbi certificates to members of the Maratha community who (or whose ancestors) were referred to as Kunbis in the Nizam-era documents.
Kunbis (the community associated with agriculture) are grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in Maharashtra.
The state government on October 31 published an order asking officials concerned to issue fresh Kunbi caste certificates to eligible Maratha community members, paving the way for them to avail reservation benefits under the OBC category.
Bhujbal, an OBC leader himself, has said the existing reservation for the OBCs should not be curtailed while giving reservation to Marathas.
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