RECALLING BJP chief Amit Shah’s recent remark that reservations cannot exceed 50 per cent, NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to show the “courage” to overrule Shah while granting quota to the Marathas.
On November 29, the state legislature had unanimously passed a Bill providing 16 per cent quota in jobs and education to the Marathas, taking the overall reservations in the state to 68 per cent from the existing 52.
“He (Amit Shah) has categorically said the reservations cannot exceed 50 per cent, thereby, ruling out the demands of various groups seeking reservation… Now, we have to see how the chief minister faces the test. We are watching if the chief minister shows the courage of taking a different view, overruling the stand of Shah,” Pawar said.
He was speaking to mediapersons after an event, in which former member of Legislative Council from Nashik, Apurva Hiray, returned to the NCP fold after quitting the BJP.
“We have always maintained that the government should implement the 16 per cent quota given to the Marathas without hurting the interests of other communities which already have reservation,” Pawar said.
Addressing poll rallies in Telangana on November 25, Shah had opposed the TRS government’s proposal to increase reservation for the Muslims in that state, saying the Supreme Court has imposed an overall cap of 50 per cent. “I want to tell Chandrasekhar Rao, the Supreme Court has fixed 50 per cent ceiling. If you want to provide 12 per cent reservation, from whose quota are you going to carve it out — from Dalits, tribals or OBCs. Decide this first,” he had said.
Pawar also batted for quota for the Muslims, and questioned the BJP’s stand that reservations could not be given on religious lines. “It must be given. These are educationally, socially and economically backward sections… The previous (Congress-NCP) government had taken a decision (to grant Muslim quota). The court also approved it. The government today says it would not give reservations based on religion… the BJP leadership has a different view of people belonging to other religions.”