The state government’s commitment to Maratha reservation was not politically motivated but based on documents running into 2,700 pages, substantiating the socio-economic backwardness of the community, which is integral to withstand the trial and test of both Constitutional and legal challenges in court, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“We have adopted a multi-pronged strategy for holistic development of the community to bridge the divide between ruling rich Marathas and poor peasant Marathas,” he said during his 90-minute speech in the state legislative Assembly on Friday. Fadnavis said reservations for the community were in vogue way back in 1932 during the era of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj and 1950 during the British Raj. However, it was withdrawn in 1965 by the then Congress government in Maharashtra without any reasons being cited.
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The chief minister said over the last two years, the government had compiled documents running into 2,700 pages. “We have collected documents from 1871 to 2016 to establish historic and contemporary evidences to prove the social and economic backwardness of the community, which is an instrumental factor to provide reservation,” he said.
“In case of the Bapat commission, the report had favoured Maratha reservation. But two months ahead of the report’s submission, the government brought in additional member Raosaheb Kasbe on the panel, whose single vote tilted the scale against reservation,” he said, while raising the question as to why the Congress government appointed Kasbe at the eleventh hour.
“The Narayan Rane Committee’s report in haste coupled with the ordinance for Maratha reservation was to offset the defeat faced by the Congress-NCP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when they lost 42 out of 48 seats,” he claimed, while saying lawyer Harish Salve would plead the case on behalf of the government in court.