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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

‘Didn’t pursue it seriously’: BJP blames govt for SC verdict on Maratha quota

The former CM urged the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to counter the verdict using shrewd strategy, which would be both legally and constitutionally valid, to uphold the reservation.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
May 6, 2021 2:46:33 am
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Seeking to put the blame of the Supreme Court’s verdict against Maratha reservation on the Maharashtra government, former chief minister and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said the judgment had “exposed the MVA government’s lack of coordination and serious planning” to safeguard the 2018 Maharashtra Act.

The former CM urged the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to counter the verdict using shrewd strategy, which would be both legally and constitutionally valid, to uphold the reservation.

“The government should set up a committee of Supreme court and high court lawyers,” he said. The report of the committee can be discussed with all political parties, he said, adding a collective, flawless strategy is necessary to strongly argue the case in favour of Marathas.

Sometimes, in such a situation, you have to use “ganima kawa” (Guerrilla tactics or a counter strategy) to get your views across as to why reservation is a must for Marathas, who are socially and economically weak, he said.

Fadnavis said, “When I was the CM, we ensured Maratha reservation was given under SEBC Act. All measures were taken to ensure it withstood the legal and constitutional test.”

SEBC (Socially and Economically Backward Classes) Act provided for 13 per cent reservation in government jobs and 12 per cent in educational institutions to the Marathas.

“When the act was challenged in Bombay High Court and Supreme Court, it was upheld. But after the change of Bench in SC, when it was challenged through a PIL, MVA government did not pursue it seriously. In such matters, state government should have played a proactive role, furnishing significant information to substantiate its case,” he said.

“There are nine states where (overall) reservation has exceeded 50 per cent. Yet, the court has not scrapped the reservation. Whereas, Maratha reservation was scrapped,” he said.

The court’s decision to uphold all admissions till September 2020 under Maratha reservation brings some relief, he said.

Fadnavis said although he is disappointed with the order and the state government, his party (the BJP) is willing to extend all help to get justice for Marathas.

State BJP president Chandrakant Patil termed the day as “darkest” in the life of Marathas. “The verdict is nothing but complete failure of the MVA government, which failed to convince the Supreme Court,” he said.

Former BJP minister Ashish Shelar said the verdict was a comment on state government’s arrogance.

“The government never held discussions with various Maratha organisations or opposition leaders. Their casual approach has cost the young, poor Maratha youths looking forward to promising career and jobs,” he said.

The verdict evoked sharp reactions from other political outfits as well.

The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Prakash Ambedkar said, “It is a clear battle between rich Marathas versus poor Marathas. Unless poor Marathas distance themselves from the rich, influential, power-dominant group and carve their own identity, they will not get justice.”

He added, “The decision-making lies with the rich, politically dominant Marathas class and we have seen how casually they took up the court battle.”

Some Maratha organisations threatened to take to the streets to protest against the verdict.

Shiv Sangram leader Vinayak Mete demanded the resignation of Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation.

“Ashok Chavan, who steered the Maratha reservation case, should take the moral responsibility for the failure,” he said.

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