Former Chief Minister and Leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), will oppose the 5 per cent reservation for Muslims as proposed by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
"We oppose the Muslim reservation or any reservation which is given on the basis of religion," Fadnavis told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Minister of Minority Affairs Nawab Malik said that the MVA will soon table a new bill during the ongoing budget session of the legislature to give 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in educational institutions in Maharashtra. Muslims constitute 11.5% of the state population.
The Bombay High Court had stayed 5% reservation in jobs but had upheld quota in education. The Congress and NCP government on July 24, 2014 had come out with the resolution announcing 5% reservation for Muslims in jobs and educational institutes.
However, the BJP-led government in which Shiv Sena was ruling ally in March 2015 decided not to give 5% reservation to the Muslim community in both jobs and education.
Malik in his response to the question by the Congress legislator Sharad Ranpise said the MVA government will implement the high court's order by bringing in a new bill at the earliest. He also assured the house of taking “appropriate action” in this regard before beginning of admissions in schools.
Malik said the government also plans to make room for reservation in jobs to the Muslim community. He informed that the government will seek a legal opinion.
However, Shiv Sena leader and Minister of Urban Development Eknath Shinde said so far there was no decision on providing Muslims quota in educational institutes. Incidentally, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are ruling partners of the MVA government. NCP and Congress have been strongly pressing for 5% quota for Muslims in education while Shiv Sena has yet to take its stand.
MVA government's plan to give 5% quota to Muslims may add the existing quota to 78 from 73 per cent which is way above the 50 per cent limit mandated by the Supreme Court in 1992. State's 60 per cent quota rose to 63% after the Bombay High Court in July last year reduced the quota from the current 16 per cent to 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in government jobs to the Maratha community.