Days after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad skipped a meeting convened by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the Maratha reservation, Attorney General KK Venugopal denied to meet Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakone and advisor Vijaysinh Thorat via video conference ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on March 8. He has cited his refusal to maintain impartiality in the matter.
A senior Maha Vikas Aghadi minister told the Free Press Journal, “Venugopal has communicated that he will appear in the apex court as per its notice. However, it would not be appropriate to meet the state legal team to maintain neutrality. The state government has been seeking the central government’s cooperation and support for the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs for the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018, from day one.’’
He further said the state government has repeatedly pleaded to the central government that its cooperation is needed on constitutional and judicial issues related to the 50 per cent reservation limit envisaged in the Indra Sahni case and the effect of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment on the rights of state governments.
Prasad, who had earlier agreed to participate in a meeting on the matter through a video conference on Sunday, had skipped it at the last minute. Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on the Maratha quota, admitted that Prasad was not present at the meeting convened by the CM and added that the reason was not known. However, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis has assured cooperation at the state and the central level.
Meanwhile, another MVA minister said that is not enough. The central government should not only support Maharashtra, but other states with similar quota issues.