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As Protests Rage, Fadnavis Sets November Deadline to Meet Maratha Quota Demand

Reacting to the incidents of violence, the Maharashtra chief minister appealed to the youth to not commit suicide as it pained him 'to the core'.


Updated:August 5, 2018, 10:00 PM IST
As Protests Rage, Fadnavis Sets November Deadline to Meet Maratha Quota Demand
File photo of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. (PTI)

Mumbai: Amid the ongoing agitation by Marathas for reservation, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said all constitutional obligations in connection with the granting of quota to the community would be completed by November this year.

During a 15-minute address on state television and radio, Fadnavis said the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) would inform the Bombay high court on August 7 about when it will submit its report regarding the Maratha quota.

He said once the report of the MSBCC was submitted, a special session of the state legislature would be convened within a month to pass a "law or resolution" regarding granting reservations to the community.

The CM said MSBCC was a statutory body and cannot be “pressurised” (to submit the report quickly). The commission was in the process of collecting “quantifiable” data. “About 1.86 lakh evidences and data have been collected,” he informed.

Fadnavis appealed to the community to shun violence as a “handful of people” were giving a bad name to the silent marches earlier that were seen as a model form of protest.

Reacting to the chief minister’s claim, Congress leader Ashok Chavan said irresponsible statements by BJP leaders were creating confusion and only time would tell what the government decided.

The Maratha reservation stir took a violent turn following the death of a youth on July 23 and since then it has seen arson and stone-pelting in several districts of the state.

The chief minister said the agitation was justified only if the government was apathetic and claimed that "sincere and genuine" efforts were being made to address the community's grievances which had prevailed for years.

Fadnavis also took on his critics who have been demanding an ordinance to grant reservations to the community.

“Some are saying promulgate an ordinance and what was the need for the Backwad Class Commission. An ordinance can be promulgated and you will get satisfaction that a decision was taken. However, it won't stand legal scrutiny,” he said.

The chief minister said legal experts, during detailed discussions, had opined that Maratha reservations would not stand in a court of law if legal and constitutional obligations were not completed.

Referring to a mega recruitment drive to fill government posts in the state, Fadnavis said that no injustice would be done to Marathas.

“The drive is yet to start. The process of how to ensure justice for Marathas while not impacting reservations for members of the SC/ST communities was being worked out,” Fadnavis said.

Calling on the Maratha community to “trust” his government, he said that the government was taking effective steps to implement provisions under the Annabhau Sathe Finance Corporation and Rajashri Shahu Maharaj Scholarship schemes for the community.

He said that the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) had been entrusted with the task of surveying and submitting a report in connection with reservations for the Dhangar community in the state. The TISS report would be submitted by the end of this month, he said.

He also appealed to the youth to not commit suicide as it pained him “to the core”.

“I appeal to the youth to not commit suicide. Please come forward and discuss (your issues) with the government. If there is a lacuna, then share it with the government and all efforts will be made to rectify it,” he said.

Asking parties to set aside politicking, he requested them to unite in order to "fulfil the aspirations of the youth".

Fadnavis said Maharashtra was the most favourable destination for investment in the country and violence would harm its reputation.

The chief minister’s statement comes a day after Union minister Nitin Gadkari said reservation would not guarantee employment as jobs were shrinking.

“Let’s assume reservation is given. But there are no jobs. Because in banks, the jobs have shrunk because of IT. The government recruitment is frozen. Where are the jobs?

“The problem with the quota is that backwardness is becoming a political interest. Everyone says I am backward. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Brahmins are strong. They dominate politics. (And) They say they are backward,” the senior BJP leader said.

“So one school of thought is that a poor is a poor, he has no caste, creed or language. Whatever may be the religion — Muslim, Hindu or Maratha (a caste), in all communities there is one section which has no clothes to wear, no food to eat.

“One school of thought also is (that) we must also consider the poorest of the poor section in every community,” he said.

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