Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on December 19 that a special session would be called to discuss the Maratha reservation in February 2024 and assured that no injustice would be done to any other community while giving reservation to the Maratha community.
“A ray of hope has been made available through a curative petition in the Supreme Court. Through the State Backward Classes Commission, we are trying to prove that the Maratha community is backward. The whole system is helping them. The State Commission for Backward Classes will submit its report within a month after which it will be reviewed. To give reservation to the Maratha community, the reservation will be given to the Maratha community as needed, by calling a special session of the legislature in February,” said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in the Vidhan Sabha.
“I assure you that no injustice will be done to any other community while giving reservations to the Maratha community. It is our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure that the Maratha community is given a lasting reservation within the framework of the law without touching the reservation of the OBC community,” added CM Eknath Shinde.
While Congress leader Ashok Chavan claimed that the reply of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was from an old record and was not new.
“The High Court stayed it. The Supreme Court rejected it. The main issue is to satisfy the court and whether there are special circumstances or not. Is there a way to go above 50%? All of this was important to be addressed in the house. The reply (from the CM) was an old record. There was nothing new…” said Ashok Chavan.
Meanwhile, the Former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, said that the Maharashtra Government must pass an ordinance just a day after the session and pass the ordinance within six months.
“He (CM Shinde) said that the Shinde Committee will provide certificates to some people of the Maratha community… A curative petition is not a constitutional provision… They have said that they will form a new backward class commission and pass a new law in February. They have postponed the decision till February, as the model code of conduct will be in force. We say that the Government must pass an ordinance just a day after the session and pass the ordinance within six months. Thus, their intention is not clear,” said former Maharashtra CM and Congress Leader Prithviraj Chavan.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Sunil Prabhu said that the Maharashtra government has befooled OBCs, Marathas, Jarange Patil and any other community in Maharashtra on reservation demand.
“They made the environment that there would be reservation on December 24, they assured Jarange Patil about it but now they are not able to fulfil that, he (CM Shinde) tried escapism through his statement today… They have befooled OBCs, Marathas, Jarange Patil and any other community in Maharashtra that is seeking reservation…” said Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Sunil Prabhu.
Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) MP Dr Shrikant Shinde asserted that the Maharashtra Government is serious about providing the reservation to the Marathas.
“MPs from all parties are present here to discuss how the issue of the Maratha reservation can be resolved. We have received 54 lakh Kunbi records. The Maharashtra government is serious about this issue,” Shrikant Shinde said
Maharashtra is witnessing protests by the Maratha community led by activist Manoj Jarange-Patil, founder of Shivba Sanghatana, who is seeking reservation in Government jobs and education under the OBC category.
Jarange-Patil withdrew his indefinite strike in the second phase on November 3 after setting the December 24 deadline for the Government to take a decision on the Maratha reservation.
The Maratha community agitation gained momentum after Jarange sat on an indefinite hunger strike on October 25.
The agitation has witnessed violence, suicides and the resignation of legislators in support of reservations. The process of issuance of Kunbi certificates has already begun in Maharashtra. The Kunbi community is eligible for reservations in the OBC category.
Earlier, on December 17, quota activist Patil refused to give time to the Eknath Shinde-led Maha Yuti dispensation after December 24 over Maratha reservations.
“We would not give even one hour after December 24, 2023, ensure reservation to Marathas by then. There will be more than 3 crore people in the next movement,” he said.
He further said that the direction of the next protest movement would be announced during the meeting to be held on December 23. Jarange pointed out that the State Government has not withdrawn cases against Marathas who participated in the protests for reservation.
Earlier on December 16, Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan and Employment Guarantee Scheme Minister Sandeepan Bhumare met Jarange and sought an extension of the time frame after informing what the Government has done so far.
Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) chairperson Justice (retd) Anand Nirgude submitted his resignation from the post to the State Government earlier this month.
Following this, the State Government appointed Bombay High Court (Retired) Judge Sunil Shukre, who played a key role of mediator in persuading Jarange to end his hunger strike last month, as the chairperson of the commission, overlooking the Maratha quota.
(with inputs from ANI)