UNION Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale Saturday said he has always supported reservation for Marathas and would propose amending the Constitution to increase the permissible level of quotas in jobs and education to 75 per cent.
Talking to mediapersons in Nagpur, Athawale said, “I have always supported the demand for Maratha reservation. But since the Supreme Court has capped quotas at 51 per cent and it is not possible to accommodate the Marathas in that, the idea of amending the Constitution to increase the limit to 75 per cent is worth considering. I am thinking of suggesting it to the government.”
He added, “Reservations are caste based and can’t be based on economic condition. The creamy layer criterion, however, can be applied.”
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The Republican Party of India (RPI) leader dismissed claims that the Maratha rallies being held across Maharashtra were anti-Dalit.
“The Maratha rallies are not against the Dalits, although I am opposed to scrapping the Prevention of Atrocities Act. However, the Marathas are now demanding only some changes in the Act, which is fine to prevent its misuse,” Athawale said.
He also said that a Dalit-Maratha unity convention would be held in Shirdi on October 19. Asked about alliances for the upcoming municipal corporation elections in Maharashtra, Athawale said, “I feel the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the RPI should fight the polls together.”