Agitation for Maratha reservation: CM starts dialogue, Maratha groups give mixed reaction

During the talks, Fadnavis reassured the Sakal Maratha Organisation about the government’s commitment to reservation and welfare of the community.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 30, 2018 3:10:09 am
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis comes out of Sahyadri Guest House after meeting with Maratha leaders on Sunday. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday initiated a dialogue with a section of Maratha organisations in Mumbai to pacify the community staging agitations demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education. However, Maratha organisations had a varied stand from district to district about the dialogue process. While some are ready for talks with the government, others are sceptical.

During the talks, Fadnavis reassured the Sakal Maratha Organisation about the government’s commitment to reservation and welfare of the community. After the meeting, the Maratha Coordination Committee in Solapur gave a call for bandh on Monday while the Latur organisation of the community threatened a statewide agitation from August 1. A Maratha Kranti Morcha leader, requesting anonymity, said, “Every district is planning its own agenda. There is no uniformity.”

Maharashtra Swabhiman Party president and Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane was also present at the meeting with Fadnavis.

The chief minister told the media, “We have urged the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to expedite the work and complete the report soon. The Bombay High Court has also sought a timetable which would be provided through an affidavit.” Fadnavis continued, “After receiving the State Backward Class Commission report, the government will, within a month, initiate the Constitutional process by convening a special session of the state legislature.”

During discussions with Maratha leaders, the chief minister also dispelled apprehensions related to the ongoing recruitment. Fadnavis said, “The government will not allow any injustice to Marathas. They will be provided their rightful quota in the ongoing recruitment for 72,000 jobs.”

The government has also issued directives to colleges to strictly enforce education welfare schemes provided by the government to help economically backward Marathas. Under the scheme, students are provided 50 per cent fee concessions. The schemes apply to students pursuing higher and professional studies across 605 faculties.

A district-level committee will be set up to ensure that colleges adhere to government directives. The government has also given its nod to withdraw cases against Maratha youths who had taken to the streets during the agitation. However, the chief minister said offenses against police and those related to violence will not be withdrawn as it would sent a wrong message.

Commenting on the divide within the Maratha organisations, with some refusing to engage in dialogue, the chief minister said, “I am ready for dialogue with everybody. There are some who conveyed they would like the government to announce their plans. There are others who have come forward for discussions. The government believes in resolving the problems through mutual discussion. It is not our endeavour to undermine any individuals or groups. What matters at the end is all of us working for a larger cause which is welfare of Maratha community and future of the youths.”

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