Maharashtra minister and senior OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Sunday said protests will be held outside the residences of MLAs, MPs and tehsildars on February 1 against the state government's decision regarding the Maratha quota.
Bhujbal held a meeting at his official residence here which was attended by OBC legislators, leaders, and others.
He said a resolution was passed at this meeting for the cancellation of the draft published by the chief minister on January 26, wherein demands of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange were accepted.
"We will gather outside the residences of MLAs, MPs and tehsildars to protest against the current decision of the state government that is taking illegal ways to offer reservation benefits to the Maratha community. We will also hold an Elgar rally from Marathwada to unite OBCs against such decisions," he told reporters.
The announcement comes a day after Jarange called off his indefinite fast for the Maratha quota after the government accepted his demands, with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announcing that till Marathas get the reservation, they will be given all the benefits enjoyed by the OBCs.
A draft notification was issued by the government recognising as Kunbis all blood relatives of the Maratha community members whose Kunbi caste records have been found, making them eligible to claim the Kunbi (OBC) certificate.
Bhujbal Bats For OBC
"Steps are taken to fool the OBCs in the state. When a clear definition of relatives is stated in the law, why changes have been made illegally? Induction of Marathas into OBCs will push the existing backward classes out and they will be deprived of the reservation benefits," said Bhujbal.
Notably, Bhujbal, who belongs to the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar which joined the government last July, has been criticising the Shinde-led dispensation over its handling of the Maratha quota issue.
"The meeting held today passed a resolution to cancel the draft published by the chief minister on January 26. The second demand is to discontinue justice (retd) Sandeep Shinde committee (looking into Kunbi records of Marathas) because it is an unconstitutional body," Bhujbal added.
MSCBC Actively Involved In Granting Reservation To Marathas
He alleged that Sunil Shukre, who heads the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC), is "active in the Maratha reservation movement".
"This is a conflict of interest as the head of such commission should not have any soft corner (for Marathas)," Bhujbal added.
He claimed Shukre is already inclined towards granting the reservation to the Maratha community, which is against the principles of the post he is holding.
"The state government has appointed (Sunil) Shukre as the chairman of the MSCBC. The Indra Sawhney vs Union government case shows the heads of such backward commissions are supposed to be impartial. But Shukre had met Jarange who is protesting for reservation for Marathas.
"Shukre is also a member of another committee helping the state in the curative petition (filed in the Supreme Court against its decision to scrap Maratha quota)," he said.
Bhujbal said the heads of the MSCBC used to be impartial in the past.
"But now, previous members have gone out for various reasons and it has become a Maratha commission," he alleged.
State Govt Trying To Give Backdoor Entry To Marathas
Bhujbal alleged several GRs (Government Resolutions) were issued only to meet the demands of Marathas.
"We (OBCs) were told that the reservation for OBCs will not be touched but the state (government) is now trying to give a backdoor entry to Marathas by issuing Kunbi caste certificates to them. This move will snatch the reservation benefits from more than 300 OBC castes and it will be taken by Marathas only," he said.
BJP MLCs Ram Shinde and Gopichand Padalkar were also present at the meeting and extended their support to Bhujbal's demands and resolutions.