After disagreements over the nature of agitation for Maratha reservation last week, the Sakal Maratha Kranti Morcha is again facing differing opinions within its rank, this time over joining the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) category. A section of Maratha Kranti Morcha members on Saturday urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to extend the benefits of EWS category to Maratha youth till the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the reservation issue.
At a ‘Vichar Manthan’ held near Mhatre bridge in Pune, MLC Vinayak Mete, who presided over the meeting, told The Indian Express, “The state government should not listen to some people and deny the EWS benefit to Maratha youngsters. The Supreme Court has stayed the law enacted by the state government to give reservation to the Maratha community. If EWS benefit is also denied, then the state government should itself clarify as to what should the Maratha youths do. Therefore, we urge the chief minister to extend EWS benefit to the Maratha community.”
Opposing the stand, Rajendra Kondhare, a key coordinator of Maratha Kranti Morcha, said, “If the Maratha community avails the benefit of EWS, then the SC might ask why does the community need a different law? In such a case, I don’t think the law will be upheld by the SC. Therefore, the demand for putting Maratha community in EWS category is untenable…”.
Responding to this argument, Mete said, “The contention is wrong. Those who are opposing EWS then should explain to the Maratha youngsters what should they do…They are not getting any benefit under the new law, and are also being denied EWS benefits. Kondhare is not the judge… let the court take the call.”
MP Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati said, “If he (Mete) is saying EWS should be extended to the Maratha community, then he should give in writing to the Maratha community that there is no danger to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act enacted by the state government.”
Sambhajiraje had met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week over the state government’s decision to extend EWS category benefits to the Maratha community.
Mete, meanwhile, said 25 resolutions were passed at the meeting, and the participants gave an “ultimatum” to the government – unless their demands are met by October 31, they will launch an agitation from November 1. “One of the demands is urgent steps by the government to put up a strong defence to get the stay on Maratha reservation lifted in the Supreme Court,” he said.
He said thee Morcha has appealed to members of the Maratha community, who run various colleges, to give admission to Maratha students under the management quota. “They can charge fees as per government norms. This will be a great service to our own students who are in pain and confused… with the reservation matter pending in the apex court,” he said.
Mete said the state government should cancel the MPSC exam scheduled for October 11. “The state government should announce its decision of cancelling the exam by October 9 or we will have to agitate for it. During lockdown, all the exams were cancelled. Currently, the students are not in a position to take the exam, which should be postponed for the next two months,” he said.
Demanding that all recruitments be stopped by the state government, Mete said, “Till the SC decides the case, the state government should provide jobs for an 11-month period. After the final ruling, the government can take an appropriate decision.”
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