Updated: August 3, 2018 4:38:28 am
TO TACKLE the ongoing agitation over Maratha reservation, the state government on Thursday decided on follow a two-pronged strategy — dialogue with not only the protesters but also with eminent personalities from the community, including scholars, litterateurs, industrialists and mediapersons.
At a BJP state legislature party meeting in Mumbai, all elected members were told to move across their respective districts and constituencies to reach out to the Marathas and assure them that the government was committed to provide 16 per cent quota to the community in jobs and educational institutions. Also, they were asked to help the community avail the benefits of welfare schemes.
Out of the total 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra, BJP has 122 MLAs. Each member, cutting across caste and community barriers, were asked to express solidarity with the Maratha cause. Speaking to mediapersons, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The government is committed to Maratha reservation in a time-bound manner. It is our endeavor to ensure that when enforced, the reservation would be full proof and withstand constitutional and legal scrutiny.”
The special session of state Assembly will be convened to provide quota to the Marathas once the State Backward Class Commission submits its report on the community’s socio-economic status, he added. The day also saw Fadnavis meeting eminent personalities from the Maratha community to discuss how to evolve to short and long term strategies for the upliftment of the community. Among those who participated in the meeting included noted scholar A H Salunkkhe, actors Sayaji Shinde and Amol Kolhe, art director Nitin Desai, industrialist Bhairavnath Thombare, Suvarna Konkan Foundation founder Satish Parab and historian Pandurang Balakawade.
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Shiv Sena leader and Public Works Department Minister Eknath Shinde also attended the meeting. Sena, which had been critical about government’s handling of the Maratha agitation, had said that an ordinance should be issued to provide quota to the community.
A joint statement issued by Fadnavis and the participants stated, “The protest marches and demands of the Maratha community for reservation in education and jobs are justified. We will work to expedite the reservation process. It is our ardent appeal to the community to restore peace. The individuals should restrain from taking any extreme step like suicides.” Education Minister Vinod Tawde said, “The outcome of the meeting with prominent personalities was very positive. The unanimous concern was that the government should come out with long term schemes that would be practical and help Marathas gain a foothold in the employment sector.”
The government has decided to set up a committee at districts to implement social welfare schemes for the Marathas, including 50 per cent fee concessions in 605 professional courses. Another relates to providing Rs 10-lakh loan to promote self-employment. It is also working on exploring the option of providing overseas jobs to the Marathas through skill development education.
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