The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) faces a major challenge to pacify the Maratha community and Other Backward Classes (OBC) who have decided to stage a protest across the state on Thursday, demanding restoration of their respective reservations.
On a day when Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, a direct descendant of the warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj led a silent sit-in protest at Kolhapur to press the demand for reservations for the Maratha community, NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who is a founder of the Akhil Bharatiya Samata Parishad, announced a state-wide agitation from June 17.
Sambhajiraje has welcomed the state government’s invite for talks and said that he and other leaders may meet CM Uddhav Thackeray on Friday. Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj, another member of the Kolhapur royal family, said that filing a review petition or curative petition in the Supreme Court against its May 5 decision to scrap the Maratha quota will be time-consuming.
“'The only option is that the Centre should take the issue seriously. If the Centre takes the issue seriously and makes necessary amendments in the law, it will be resolved,” he said. On the other hand, Bhujbal, who held meetings with OBC leaders and Samata Parishad workers, clarified that the agitation is not against the Centre or state government.
“We have no objection to provide reservation to the Maratha community but the government should not touch the OBC quota. The apex court’s order on cancelling 27% political quota for OBCs in local bodies will have an impact on about 55,000 to 60,000 seats across the state. There is a need to collect OBC data from house to house. Therefore, the proposed agitation is to protect the OBC reservation,’’ he noted.
Bhujbal recalled that Uddhav had chaired two meetings on OBC issues and also took it up during his recent meet with the prime minister Narendra Modi. However, he insisted that even though the apex court has quashed the quota that does not mean the issue is over.