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No Proposal on Muslim Reservation, Says CM Uddhav Thackeray Days After NCP Minister’s 5% Quota Claim

File photo of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (Image Source: PTI)

File photo of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (Image Source: PTI)

The Maharashtra chief minister's statement directly contradicts Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik’s claim in the Legislative Council that the state government will provide 5% quota to Muslims in education.

Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday nipped the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) efforts at one-upmanship, by declaring that the state government had not taken any decision regarding the 5% reservation to Muslims in education in Maharashtra.

The announcement comes days after NCP leader and minister Nawab Malik declared on the floor of the House that the state government will soon promulgate an ordinance to implement Muslim reservation in educational institutions from the coming academic year.

While Thackeray targeted the BJP by saying that the former ally was unnecessarily banging its head over the issue, the real target, many believe, was the NCP.

“At a time when such an issue has not even come up in front of the government, some people are banging their heads on it. We haven't yet talked about it. I haven't yet taken a stand on it. Why this premature issue? They should conserve their energy,” he said during a press conference at Vidhan Bhavan on Tuesday.

While Thackeray’s deputy and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar refused to speak on it, Cabinet minister and NCP Maharashtra President Jayant Patil said, “The chief minister is right. The issue hasn't yet come up in front of the government. All the three parties will sit together and take a call on it.”

Several senior leaders of the ruling parties said it was an unnecessary bid for one-upmanship by Malik.

“At a time when the government is seized with the issue of Maratha reservation, which is a priority for all three of us, why bring up this issue of Muslim reservation? This is nothing but one-upmanship," a senior leader of the ruling dispensation told CNN-News18 on condition of anonymity.

When asked about the matter, senior Congress leader and Cabinet minister Balasaheb Thorat told CNN-News18, “Muslim reservation is a commitment of our party. It is there in the Common Minimum Program as well. So we will have to do it. But it is also true that the issue has not yet come for discussion on front of us. We will take a decision on it together.”

It is interesting that during the last government's tenure, when the Bombay High Court had upheld 5% reservation to Muslims in education, the Sena had come out in support of it.