AMID MOUNTING pressure to find an amicable solution to the Maratha reservation issue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday convened a meeting of BJP ministers and elected party members. The government has also decided to hold an all-party meeting on the matter, said sources.
Party insiders, on the condition of anonymity, said BJP has decided to adopt a two-pronged strategy — provide 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas in the ongoing recruitment drive to employ 72,000 people and ask the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to expedite the process of submitting its report to the court on the socio-economic status of the community by next month.
“The government will provide additional manpower to ensure that the report is submitted by August end… The report is important to determine the social and economic backwardness of the Marathas. The findings would help make the process of giving Marathas reservation constitutionally valid,” a source said.
A senior minister told The Indian Express, “There is no reason for us to be on the backfoot. We have urged all our Maratha MLAs and ministers to engage community members in their respective constituencies in a positive dialogue.”
The emphasis is on asking Maratha leaders, ministers, party members and the cadre to establish man-to-man contact with the community across 355 talukas in 36 districts. The party members have been told to publicise efforts made by the government for Maratha reservation.
Earlier in the day, while addressing a BJP media workshop at Uttan in Thane district, Fadnavis said: “The government is making an honest attempt to provide reservation to the Marathas in jobs and educational institutes. The BJP has already adopted a resolution support the 16 per cent Maratha reservation. The Cabinet has unanimously passed the decision.”
Earlier, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, while addressing the Marathas in her constituency Beed, had said: “If the file were on my table, I would have taken the decision within a minute… The file is neither on my table nor the CM’s table. It is with the court.”
The Bombay High Court had in 2014 stayed
implementation of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government’s decision to provide reservation to Marathas.
The case is still pending before the HC.