Reservation Card for Saving Ground?
Intro: With the familiar routine of Pre—election announcement, Congress-NCP government is still trying to hold its ground with Muslim-Maratha card.?
To save the political face in Maharashtra, Congress has opted for divisive card by declaring religion & caste based reservations for Muslims and Marathas. After facing the worst ever defeat in recently held Lok Sabha elections and CM Prithviraj Chavan facing internal rebellion within the Congress, this seems to be grand old party’s last resort before the upcoming State Assembly elections in the state.
On June 26, State cabinet announced 16 percent reservation in government jobs and education for the politically powerful Maratha community and 5 percent reservation for Muslims. In Maharashtra, where reservations quota is 52 % which includes SC, ST, VJNT and OBC, is being extended to 73 % with this addtional reservation. reservations for various communities in Maharashtra reach 73 per cent.
It is to be noted that the above reservations are clearly caste and religion based. CM disagreed and claimed in the press conference that this reservation is for the people who are educationally and socially backward. The fact is that the Congress-NCP is facing elections with a defeated mentality. They know very well that there is high anti-incumbency against the government. The impact of Modi wave is still visible in the state. Therefore, central leadership of both parties is in a state of utter confusion about the state leadership. With the fear of rejecction from the people, the ruling aaliance has opted for the reservation gamble.
The Marathas have been demanding reservations since 1991 and both Congress & NCP have been promising quota for the dominant caste. A new category, economically and Socially Backward Castes, is crreated for the purpose. In the new category, the creamy layer has been excluded with annual family income limit of Rs. 4.5 lakh.
This pre-election announcement of quotas is a familiar routine of Congress-NCP politics, reminiscent of the Jats being accommodated in the OBC category. The move did not pay any dividents to the Congress. The quotas may be challenged in courts for crossing the Supreme Court’s cap of 50 % reservation.
—Prasad S Joshi