OBC Quota Will Remain Intact, Marathas Need Not Worry: Maharashtra Chief Minister
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday assured the Assembly that the existing 'Other Backward Class' quota will remain intact despite attempts to create speculations on the inclusion of Marathas.
Thackeray made it clear that the OBC quota will remain unchanged even as attempts are being made to create a social divide by spreading a speculation that Marathas will be included in the OBC category for reservations. He said such attempts will not be tolerated.
The chief minister also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party, accusing it of trying to create a perception that the OBC quota will be slashed to accommodate Marathas.
"The legal battle for (restoring) the Maratha quota is in the final stage. We have neither changed the legal team nor our stand on Maratha quota. We will win the legal battle," he said.
The state government's revision plea seeking to vacate the interim stay on the implementation of the Maratha quota is pending before the Supreme Court.
On Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis' charge of "undeclared Emergency" in the state in view of police preventing Maratha activists from entering Mumbai, the CM referred to the Enforcement Directorate's action against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik.
"Asking the ED to go after those who bring a breach of privilege against your favourite people is political perversity," he said.
Sarnaik had submitted the breach of privilege notices against television journalist Arnab Goswami and actress Kangana Ranaut to the office of the state Assembly Speaker on Sept. 7.
The CM also defended the two-day duration of the winter session of the state legislature citing the coronavirus threat.
"Parliament session is not happening this time. The WHO, Washington Post have praised the Maharashtra government's work in containing the pandemic in Dharavi. It's sad that you (BJP) can't see this," the chief minister said.
Thackeray said uncertainty prevails over medication and vaccine for Covid-19.
"Even though the coronavirus curve is on the decline, we cannot take chances. The number of patients is growing in Western countries. We are taking care to avoid a second Covid-19 wave," he told the Lower House.
Referring to the criticism over his decision to shift the metro carshed project from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg and the legal battle between the state government and the Centre over ownership of the salt pan land, Thackeray reiterated that the land in Kanjur belongs to the state.
"Politics shouldn't come in the way of the development of the city. More than ownership, what is important is how the project will benefit," he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also said the government will not do injustice to Marathas and OBC on implementation of the quota.
Replying to a debate on the supplementary demands, Pawar, who also holds Finance portfolio, said despite the financial crunch caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the MVA government had not slashed funds for the departments of public health, medical education, food and civil supplies, relief and rehabilitation and home.
Pawar said the government didn't nurse any regional bias in allocation of funds for the people affected by a cyclone, heavy rains and floods.
"The BJP is unable to digest its defeat in the Legislative Council polls for Graduates and Teachers constituencies," he said.
Pawar asked the BJP to "keep a watch on those who had left the NCP and the Congress" to join the saffron party.
"They may resign and return to us," he added.
He also said the dress code announced for employees of the state government is being reconsidered, and an appropriate decision will be taken.
Public Works Department Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, said the issue was above politics.
"The criticism against the government is totally unwarranted. The BJP is creating confusion among OBCs after it lost the MLC polls," he said.