Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday said there was no proposal under consideration by the Maharashtra government to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in education.
“No proposal has come to me regarding Muslim reservation. We will check its validity once it comes to us. We have not yet taken any decision on it,” Thackeray said at a press conference outside Vidhan Bhawan on Tuesday.
Last week, Minister for Minority Affairs Nawab Malik had informed the Legislative Council that the state would give 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in educational institutions. Just before the Assembly elections, on July 11, 2014, the erstwhile Congress-NCP government had issued an Ordinance, allowing 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in government-run schools/colleges and jobs. The Bombay High Court had upheld 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in education. However, with the change of government in the state, the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government decided to scrap the reservation for Muslims.
“The 5 per cent reservation given in educational institutes to Muslims in 2014 has been upheld by the HC. The government will bring a law soon to provide the reservation,” Malik had told the Legislative Council.
The statement had led to criticism from the BJP, which had said that it would oppose the move adding that reservations based on religion were unconstitutional. The BJP over the past few days has been targetting the Shiv Sena, claiming that providing reservations to Muslims could hurt the reservation for Marathas and OBCs.
Thackeray said his party was yet to decide over the demand and asked the BJP-led Opposition to refrain from making a hue and cry over the issue.
“I also urge those who are creating ruckus on the issue to save your energy to use it when the issue comes up for discussion. The issue has not come up yet. The Shiv Sena has not clarified its position yet. Let us see when the proposal comes up,” Thackeray said.
He said his party would come up with its stand when the issue is brought up for discussion.
“When the issue comes up before the government, we will check the legal validity and take a decision. My stand as well as that of Shiv Sena will be decided when the issue comes before us,” Thackeray said.
On the issue of National Population Register (NPR), Thackeray said he would form a committee to look into various aspects of NPR.
“I will form a committee of leaders from Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP to look into the provisions of the NPR. We will first study it to make sure that no citizen is hurt by this,” the chief minister said.
On his wife Rashmi Thackeray’s appointment as the editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Thackeray said he had to quit the editor’s post after the chief ministership “unexpectedly” came to him.
“Saamana, Shiv Sena and Thackeray can’t be separated. We are one family. With Rashmi becoming editor, there were speculations if the language of the paper will change. I want to tell that the language will remain the same. Editorial responsibility will continue to be handled by Sanjay Raut,” he said.
The chief minister also said he was going to Ayodhya on March 7 to offer prayers to Lord Ram.
“I have faith and therefore I am heading (to Ayodhya) to get darshan of Lord Shri Ram. Where is the question of politics in having a glimpse of god? Where is the politics in it? The doors of god don’t get shut just because you have formed an alliance with the Congress or some other party. God is god and belongs to everyone. I will go (to Ayodhya),” he said.
On loan waiver, the chief minister said the government has already started making farmers who took loans of up to Rs 2 lakh debt-free. He said so far the fund had been transferred to 7.5 lakh accounts of farmers.
On Delhi violence and the precautionary measures being taken in Maharashtra, Thackeray said, “Precaution is being taken in Mumbai and Maharashtra to see no such incident takes place. I thank the police and citizens too for being vigilant. They understand who is doing this.”
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