Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, on Wednesday, asserted that the Supreme Court order is against the sentiment of the Maratha community. However, he urged the community members to show restraint and not take to the streets, especially when the state is passing through the second wave of COVID-19. He suggested that the state government should immediately announce a supernumerary quota for the Maratha community.
“There is anger against the court order, but we should not dishonour the judgment of the SC. All sections of the Maratha community protested and demanded the reservation. If the reservation was given, a poor Maratha could be educated and get a government job. It would have helped alleviate poverty in the debt-ridden community,” said Sambhajiraje, who is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member in the Rajya Sabha.
Sambhajiraje, who failed to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appointment to seek his intervention for the restoration of Maratha quota in Maharashtra, said despite strong arguments by the state government and BJP, SC has struck down the 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent quota in government jobs.
On the other hand, Sambhaji Brigade President Pravin Gaikwad, said that the court has rightly struck down the demand of the Maratha community, adding that the reservations cannot exceed the 50 per cent ceiling limit. Gaikwad said that the central government should identify Maratha as part of the Other Backward Class.
“The central and the state government should together find a way out for the Maratha community,” he noted.
Maratha Kranti Morcha convenor Vinod Patil said that the state government needs to announce a supernumerary quota for the Maratha community. On the other hand, Martha reservation expert Dr Balasaheb Sarate expressed surprise and anguish over the apex court ruling and said that petitions challenging quotas exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling in Tamil Nadu have been pending since 2012. Further, the petition challenging the 10 per cent quota to the Economically Backward Section has been pending and it has been referred to the five member constitutional bench. “The judgement has been delivered in isolation, when petitions challenging quotas exceeding the 50 per cent limit are yet to be heard,” he noted.
Shiv Sangram chief Vinayak Mete, who is BJP’s ally, demanded the resignation of Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet subcommittee on the Maratha reservation issue. “Chavan has proved ineffective in handling the crucial issue. The Marathas will take to the streets,” he warned.