MVA, Maratha groups engage in a verbal duel

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government and various pro-Maratha reservation organisations including Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) on Saturday were engaged in a verbal duel on the politically sensitive quota issue. MKM and other organisations took an aggressive posture and claimed that the MVA government by providing Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota benefits in education and government jobs has murdered the reservation under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018. They have expressed strong opposition against the state government’s move and warned a fresh bout of agitation.

However, Public Work Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet subcommittee on Maratha quota, shot back saying that there was no confusion between SEBC and EBC quota benefits offered to the Maratha community. Chavan said that quota under EBC is optional and reiterated that the state government is fighting a legal battle for the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs under SEBC category. Chavan blamed few organisations and opposition for creating a confusion among the Maratha community with certain purpose.

“I don't think there is any confusion anywhere. There is a deliberate effort to create a confusion on SEBC and EWS quota," he alleged. “Eligible candidates who are in SEBC and whose appointments were stalled have requested the government to make their appointments,” Chavan said.

“Positive steps have been taken in which there will be no contempt of court. The government has cleared EWS for 2145 candidates. The EWS quota is under the Central Act. Therefore, the students who are selected and fall in the EWS criteria can avail the benefits. It is optional. Those who want to take benefits of EWS quota can take it, those who want to wait for SEBC should wait,”said Chavan.

However, the MVA government has murdered the valid Maratha reservation, alleges Shrimant Kokate, leader of Maratha Kranti Morcha. “Instead of trying to lift the interim stay granted by the Supreme Court, the MVA government has cheated the Maratha community by giving reservation benefits under the EWS quota which was not demanded. The MVA government has cheated the Maratha community and it has backstabbed. Majority of the Marathas will not come under EWS,’’ said Kokate.

Further, Kokate and other leaders also criticised OBC leaders and Ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Vijay Wadettiwar for allegedly creating a rift between the Maratha and OBC communities. They claimed that both Bhujbal and Wadettiwar seem to have forgotten that they have taken the oath for equality. Few MKM leaders demanded Chavan’s resignation as the cabinet subcommittee chief if Marathas opting for benefits under EWS quota do not get reservation under SEBC category.

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