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CM refuses to table Maratha report, Opposition fumes

CM refuses to table Maratha report, Opposition fumes

Will table action taken report on Commission’s recommendations as per protocol: CM

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday refused to table the State Backward Class Commission (SBCC) report on Maratha reservation in the Assembly, despite repeated demands by the Opposition. He claimed that the Opposition was trying to pit communities against each other through their protest.

The issue had stalled the Assembly proceedings for four days with the Opposition demanding the report be made public. On Tuesday, Mr. Fadnavis met with Opposition leaders and no consensus was reached. As the Opposition continued with their demand, Mr. Fadnavis said in the Assembly that if the former tried to politicise the issue, his government would also respond politically.

“My government is committed to providing reservation to the Marathas under the Socially and Educationally Backward Community category over and above the existing 52% reservation in the State,” Mr. Fadnavis said. The government will table the ‘action taken report’ (ATR) on the Commission’s recommendations in the Assembly, before introducing a bill, he said.

“As per rules under which the SBCC has been set up, only the ATR on its recommendations is tabled in the House. This is the 52nd report of the Commission and the earlier 51 reports were not tabled in the Legislature,” he said.

We will also table the ATR on the Tata Institute of Social Sciences report on Dhangar reservation, Mr. Fadnavis said. “Reservations of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) will be protected. Recommendations of the TISS report will be sent to the Centre and reservation will be given without hurting the existing quota for STs.”

Criticising the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over the issue of quota for Muslims, Mr. Fadnavis accused them of trying to mislead the community. “52 backward castes among Muslims were given reservation by the previous Shiv Sena-BJP State government (in the 90s). To give reservation, the castes need to be declared backward first. Those demanding quota should first approach the State Backward Class Commission, and their report will be binding on the government,” he said.

“Our government is providing educational benefits to the backward communities among Muslims. For Congress and NCP, Muslims are just a vote bank and they never cared for their well-being,” he said.

The Opposition objected to Mr. Fadnavis’ reply and the House had to be adjourned for 10 minutes. After it regrouped, Opposition members charged in the well of the House and shouted slogans for the tabling of the Maratha and Dhangar reports and restoring 5% reservation in education to Muslims.

Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the earlier 51 reports of the Commission were not tabled in the Legislature since no demand was made for it. As sloganeering continued, the government cleared nine bills without discussion.

Mr. Vikhe-Patil and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar accused Mr. Fadnavis of keeping even the senior ministers of the State cabinet in the dark about the report. “Various people are saying different things and this will settle only if the report is tabled. If there is nothing to hide, what is the problem in making it public?” Mr. Pawar asked.

The Opposition boycotted proceedings and returned only after BJP leader Eknath Khadse appealed to the Chief Minister to call them for a discussion on drought.

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