The Congress and NCP leaders shared diametrically opposite views in the state Legislative Assembly on Tuesday over tabling of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) report.
While Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil spoke about the government’s commitment regarding enforcing the Maratha reservation, he did not say anything about tabling it during the Winter Session. The development led to repeated adjournments in the Assembly on Tuesday. At least a dozen Opposition members gathered in the well of the House, climbed on the podium and then lifted the Speaker’s mace.
The Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, adopted an aggressive stand demanding that the MSBCC report be tabled in the Assembly immediately to facilitate a debate on Maratha reservation.
He said: “While we are unanimous in supporting the Maratha reservation, it is our demand that the panel report be tabled in the Assembly. We have to first know what are the detailed findings of the panel to have any meaningful debate in the House. We have limited information that was shared by the Chief Minister to the media. Even the cabinet ministers are not fully aware of the detailed report.”
NCP leader Ajit Pawar, however, had a different opinion and argued that if the MSBCC is tabled at this point, it is likely to be used as a convenient tool by certain sections to challenge it in court and it would stall the implementation of the reservation for Marathas.
Later, senior Congress and NCP leaders held discussions to resolve the differences.
Pawar said: “I feel the MSBCC report should not be tabled in the Assembly. As it would unnecessarily lead some sections to indulge in finding faults and appeal against the Maratha reservation in court. If this happens, it will stall the implementation of the Maratha reservation announced by the state government.” He added: “The government should ensure that the existing 52 per cent quota is not disturbed in any manner.”
But Vikhe-Patil and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan countered Pawar’s views. Vikhe-Patil said: “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had already cited the findings of the panel when he announced the Maratha reservation under the separate category of Socially and Educationally Backward Class. So, what stops the government from tabling the report in the Winter Session?” he asked.
Later, Pawar said: “While I am not against the debate on the report, I wanted that the Maratha reservation should be enforced without any hurdle. If there are some hurdles constitutionally or legally that need to be addressed, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should set up a committee of all political leaders to look into the report and effectively implement those at the earliest.”
Both the Congress and the NCP leaders attacked the government for not sharing the report details with the Opposition.