BJP assures reservation to Marathas


Amid campaign by Marathas across Maharashtra for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, the ruling BJP today said it was committed to meeting the demand of the community without upsetting the existing OBC quota. A resolution seeking to provide reservation to the Maratha community was adopted on the second day of the party’s state executive meeting here.

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The resolution, moved by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, was adopted, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve told reporters after the meeting. “BJP will provide 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions,” Danve said.

Asked about reservation for Muslims, he said there is no provision for quota on the basis of religion. During the meeting, Opposition Congress and NCP were criticised for “ignoring” Maratha community after using it as their vote bank for years. Promising that it would stand up to address grievances and demands raised by the community, BJP blamed Congress and NCP leadership for the situation in which the Maratha community finds itself.

The resolution noted that the leadership of both the parties (Congress and NCP) had used the community as a vote bank. Before the 2014 state Assembly elections, the then Congress-NCP dispensation had approved 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and five per cent for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions. The decision, however, was challenged in the court, where it is pending.

The “silent marches” taken out by the Maratha Kranti Morcha around Maharashtra to highlight their demands have elicited huge response, creating ripples in state politics. According to observers, all main parties — BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP — are unnerved by the turnout at the rallies, highlighting demands like reservation in job and educational institutions, though the immediate trigger being the rape and murder of a girl from the community at Kopardi in Ahmednagar.

More than 20 rallies have already taken place across the state over the last one-and-a-half months. Danve had yesterday said that a resolution supporting the demand of Maratha reservations would be discussed and adopted at the state executive meeting.

He had rejected the allegation of Congress and NCP that BJP government could not present its stand on the Maratha quota before the High Court adequately. The previous Congress-NCP government issued the ordinance giving reservations to Marathas and Muslims with an eye on the Assembly polls, and that was the reason the ordinance did not stand up to the court’s scrutiny, Danve had said.

The resolution alleged that the Maratha community bore the brunt of corruption of Congress-NCP leaders in co-operative sector. It noted that the disenchantment of the community was due to lack of opportunities in employment and education. “The Congress-NCP leadership misused power for their own selfish benefits,” the resolution charged.

“The previous government announced quota for Marathas with an eye on Assembly polls in 2014 against the backdrop of the severe drubbing in Lok Sabha elections a few months earlier,” the political resolution said, adding that BJP’s “clear and definite” stand has been that the community should get reservation without impacting the existing set of quota.

The resolution also said it was the endeavour of the BJP government to resolve grievances of all sections of the society. Condemning the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kopardi, it said the state government was doing everything possible to punish the culprits.

In the political resolution, the executive committee highlighted the package worth Rs 49,000 crore for Marathwada and said the development agenda would be followed in letter and spirit. The resolution blasted the opposition Congress-NCP for attempting to derail the development agenda by raising “unnecessary” issues.

It said the good work of the BJP government will help the party to do well in the forthcoming local body polls. In the agriculture resolution, the party said the government is working on improving the farm productivity and good market price for the produce. “Roads, electricity and water are necessary for this and the government’s efforts in this direction will show good results,” it said.

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