The issue of the Maratha quota was embroiled in a new controversy on Friday as the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra legislature Vijay Wadettiwar commented against Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil stating that the demand for Kunbi (OBC) caste certificates is unlikely to benefit the Maratha youths.
Angered by the comment, Jarange Patil retorted in equal terms and asked whether Wadettiwar had switched sides and started speaking the government lingo.
"Injustice to 372 sub-castes that fall under OBC category": Wadettiwar
Wadettiwar, who is also the OBC face of the Congress in Maharashtra, objected to the demand of Jarange Patil to give the ‘Kunbi’ caste certificate to all Marathas in the state, calling it “injustice” to the 372 sub-castes that fall under the OBC category.
“For any caste to get reservation under OBC quota, they should be economically and socially backward. There is a process which determines this. The government cannot just declare it just because a few people are asking for it. There is the backward commission which conducts surveys. Some terms and conditions should be fulfilled to get that caste certificate. One person sits on fast and makes some unreasonable demands and the government agrees to the same, had never happened in the past,” Wadettiwar said.
According to Wadettiwar, the OBC community is scared that if Marathas get OBC status, the former will lose their rights.
“Earlier they said that a survey was conducted of some 1.72 crore people of which some 11,500 were found to be OBC. Now, this government is increasing the number of such people to one lakh. The survey was based on available documents from the Nizam era but in reality now, if we see these figures, it will further increase to some two crore. In such a scenario, where will OBCs go?” he asked.
Wadettiwar also clarified that the OBC community is not against the Maratha reservation but they are objecting to Marathas getting reservation from OBC quota.
“Why is Jarange troubling our community? Why do they want to snatch our community’s rights? If they want reservation, they should get it separately. There is a 50 per cent reservation cap, the remaining 50 per cent is open. Marathas can get benefits under the EWS category. Why do they need reservation under the OBC category? It is clear that Jarange wants to get political mileage from this move. If Marathas get OBC status then the small castes which fall under OBC will lose their chance to contest local body elections too as Marathas will stake claim to that too,” Wadettiwar said.
Jarange Patil hits back
Jarange Patil, however, hit back at Wadettiwar. “As a leader of opposition he is expected to give justice to the people. But, he is not in favour of the poor and downtrodden now. He shouldn't give advice to Marathas, because they know how venomous his thought process towards Marathas is. He doesn't love Marathas atall," he said.
Replying to personal remarks against him, Jarange-Patil said, "We never become Heros. We don't consider ourselves as heros. You all, those in power and opposition, had decided to break us down. Two-three people wanted to break our agitation. So conspiracies were hatched. We didn't become heroes. Our community is with us because we decided to fight. If you don't make confusing statements there won't be any confusion. people are well aware of your sentiments and how much you and your party have used Marathas for political benefit."
"You are opposing even when the records have been found. Tell Maratha youth not to back us. Do you feel they will listen to you? You have become like our enemies, who are trying to prevent quota even while records have been found and hence you are responsible for the deaths," Jarange Patil told Wadettiwar.
He further asked as to why the leader of opposition should feel bad when Marathas are speaking against the government. "Are you being pressured and hence you are speaking in favour of the government? Or are you planning to switch sides? And if so, why are you calling us politically motivated? If we were politically motivated we would have kept our demand limited only to Marathwada. But, we are concerned about the entire Maratha community and hence we asked for extension of the committee's limits," Jarange Patil said.