Amid Maratha reservation row, CM Shinde forms panel for Dhangar quotas
Mumbai: As a major political war rages between the Maharashtra government and the Opposition over the prickly issue of Maratha reservation, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday set up a Cabinet sub-committee on the pending issue of Dhangar quotas.
The move is likely to come up for approval before the Cabinet meeting scheduled in Mumbai on Wednesday, officials said.
Meanwhile, the simmering Maratha quotas issue has again flared up with an open challenge by senior OBC leader of the breakaway Nationalist Congress Party (AP) minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the past couple of days.
Bhujbal has made it clear that the OBCs — who comprise 54 per cent of the state’s population — would strongly oppose any move by the state government to share their quotas with the Marathas, as is being contemplated.
This led to sharp reactions from ruling Shiv Sena ministers like Shambhuraj Desai and others, who slammed Bhujbal for attempting to mislead the people in this matter that churned state politics for the past nearly three months.
In Jalna, Shivba Sanghatana President Manoj Jarange-Patil demanded to know as to “why Bhujbal has so much angst against the Marathas”.
State Congress President Nana Patole, NCP (SP) National Secretary Jitendra Awhad, Shiv Sena’s (UBT) Sanjay Raut and Sushma Andhare and others have accused Shinde of making willy-nilly attempts to dilute and do away with the OBC reservation.
Congress’ Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar and Shiv Sena’s (UBT) Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve have warned of an agitation by the OBCs post-Divali as the issue remained on the boil, as Bhujbal warned that those who oppose the OBCs would be “out of the government”.
Dalit leader and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi President Prakash Ambedkar has attacked Bhujbal, while state BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankule has supported Bhujbal.
Attempting to soothe the ruffled feathers, Shinde chided Bhujbal for confusing the issue and reiterated that the government will not carve out Maratha reservation from the OBC quotas, and appealed to Deputy CM Ajit Pawar to intervene.