Chhagan Bhujbal on Tuesday said that he was not against any community, but asserted a social group has to fight to protect its rights
Chhagan Bhujbal. File Pic
Maharashtra Cabinet minister and OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Tuesday said that he was not against any community, but asserted a social group has to fight to protect its rights, reported the PTI.
The comments comes in the backdrop of the ongoing agitation by the Marathas for reservation in government jobs and education, as per the PTI.
Chhagan Bhujbal, who has strongly opposed the demand to include the Marathas in the other backward classes (OBC) category for quota benefits, said a new social system is taking shape in Maharashtra which is different from the order envisaged by prominent social reformers.
The Maharashtra food and civil supplies minister, Chhagan Bhujbal was speaking at an award ceremony organised by his outfit Samta Parishad at Phule Wada.
"...Mahatma Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj worked tirelessly to end the caste system and bring equality in society. But as I said, a new kind of social order is coming up in the state. You know what I mean. I will not reiterate. That (past) social order was different and today's social order is different. Nowadays, things like eligibility (layaki) and higher, lower status are being discussed," he said, taking potshots at Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange over his recent remarks, according to the PTI.
Manoj Jarange, spearheading the latest round of agitation seeking reservation for the Marathas in government jobs and education, said at a recent rally in Pune that in the absence of quota, his community's youths have no option but to work under "undeserving people". He later withdrew the comments, which invited strong criticism from OBC leaders.
The Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction leader, who has said the Marathas should be given reservation without "encroaching" on the existing OBC quota, asserted he was not against community.
"I am not against any community and I request all of you not to talk against any community, but for our rights we will have to fight," Chhagan Bhujbal said.
Manoj Jarange, who has undertaken hunger strikes on two occasions since August-end as part of his agitation, has sought quota for the Maratha community under the OBC category.
The state government last month 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.
Kunbis, a community associated with agriculture, are grouped under the OBC category in Maharashtra.
Chhagan Bhujbal has opposed giving Kunbi caste certificates to eligible Maratha community members, citing "irregularities" in the process.
(with PTI inputs)