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Sambhajiraje slams govt. move to extend EWS benefits to Marathas

Has State given up hopes of fighting for Maratha quota in SC, asks BJP MP

Has State given up hopes of fighting for Maratha quota in SC, asks BJP MP

Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur and a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, on Thursday slammed the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s decision to give the Maratha community benefits under the Centre’s economically weaker section (EWS) category.

Mr. Sambhajiraje wondered how much of the benefits would actually pass on to the Maratha community and questioned whether the State government had already given up hopes of putting up a strong defence for the Maratha quota before the Supreme Court’s hearing on the case on January 25 next year.

“While I certainly am not against the benefits of the EWS reservation being passed on to the Maratha community, the question is whether the State government can guarantee that it will not endanger benefits traditionally availed by other castes included in the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) ambit? Furthermore, will the Marathas actually avail of any benefits under this rubric?” he said.

In a move apparently aimed at circumventing the SC stay on Maratha quota, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday decided to allow the community to avail of the benefits of the EWS category. This implies that the Maratha community can get reservation in education and jobs in the State under the 10% EWS quota.

However, a stumbling block is that the Supreme Court had already stayed the implementation of the SEBC law in September, citing the 50% reservation cap.

“I think this [MVA] government is getting cold feet. Earlier, I use to side with Mr. Thackeray’s government and indulge in constructive criticism, but now, I feel that something is definitely amiss. Is the State attempting to wash its hands off this matter and hence announcing reservation for the Marathas under the EWS category well before the January 25 hearing? If so, then in the event that something goes wrong during that hearing, then the MVA government must bear full responsibility for failing to make the Maratha quota law stick in the apex court,” Mr. Sambhajiraje said, while urging Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, whose party is part of the MVA government, to immediately look into this matter.

In Pune, the Maratha Kranti Morcha protested against the State government’s move with community leader Rajendra Kondhre saying that the community was being “played like a football” by both the ruling and the Opposition party leaders.

As per the Cabinet’s decision, it will be voluntary to avail of the quota benefits under the EWS category. However, those opting for EWS certificates will not be eligible to avail of the reservation benefits under the SEBC category.

Maratha community leader Pravin Gaikwad, however, welcomed the State government’s decision, saying that there was no connection between the move to make the Maratha community avail of EWS benefits and the upcoming hearing on January 25.

“On the contrary, this move will not only help break the stalemate but also help the State go ahead with its mega recruitment plans for the Maratha community,” Mr. Gaikwad said.

“I think this [MVA] government is getting cold feet. Earlier, I use to side with Mr. Thackeray’s government and indulge in constructive criticism, but now, I feel that something is definitely amiss. Is the State attempting to wash its hands off this matter and hence announcing reservation for the Marathas under the EWS category well before the January 25 hearing? If so, then in the event that something goes wrong during that hearing, then the MVA government must bear full responsibility for failing to make the Maratha quota law stick in the apex court,” Mr. Sambhajiraje said, while urging Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, whose party is part of the MVA government, to immediately look into this matter.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/sambhajiraje-slams-govt-move-to-extend-ews-benefits-to-marathas/article33413888.ece

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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