Special assembly session on Maratha quota likely to be called this weekend

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A special session of the Maharashtra Assembly is set to be held this weekend following the start of an indefinite hunger strike by Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil. Patil, of Antarwali-Saraati village in Maharashtra`s Jalna district, began the strike to protest for Maratha quota rights, reported ANI. 

According to the report, Patil urged the state administration to convene a special assembly session within the next two days to pass the draft notification for the Maratha quota into legislation. He also urged the dropping of all cases against Maratha community members.

Patil emphasised the importance of enacting quota rules for the Maratha community and announced plans for a celebration gathering after receiving the reservation certificate, naming the day `Maha Diwali`, the report added. 

Jarange Patil told ANI, “To implement the draft notification to provide reservations to the Maratha community, given by the state government, it should be made into law in the special assembly session.”

He added, “It is much needed to sit on an indefinite hunger strike again. It is the government`s responsibility to implement the law for the reservation. This law is very important for the Maratha community.”

“This is the first time in the last 70 years that the Maratha Community has had a strong law for the reservation. We had planned to march to Mumbai. When we get the certificate of reservation we will hold a Vijay rally and that day will be celebrated as Maha Diwali,” he further told the news agency.

While the state administration has earlier released a draft notification for the Maratha quota, Patil and his followers remain concerned due to contradicting remarks from authorities.

The Maratha community, led by Patil, has long advocated for reservations in education and jobs under the OBC category. However, complaints were raised inside the Maharashtra government, particularly by senior lawmaker Chhagan Bhujbal, who expressed concern about the ramifications for existing reservations.

“I have been working for the OBCs for the last 35 years. Today Marathas are included in OBC, tomorrow Patels, Jaats and Gurjars will also be included. Strong communities will enter the OBC category this way. We will fight in every manner that can be expected in a democracy. Supreme Court said that Marathas are not backward, but they are being included in OBC through the backdoor entry, this is affecting the OBC reservation,” Bhujbal had said, ANI reported. 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde assured that the government would grant Maratha quota without altering other communities` reservations. Shinde reiterated the commitment to fulfilling reservation criteria without affecting existing quotas.

“While giving the Maratha quota, we will keep in mind that whether it is the OBC community or any other community, without making any kind of change in their reservation, we will give the reservation to the Maratha community. Our view from the beginning has been to provide such a reservation that meets the criteria. I have said this openly as Chief Minister, and both our Deputy Chief Ministers have also said the same,” Shinde had said.

This development follows the Supreme Court`s decision on May 5, 2021, to strike down Maratha quotas in educational institutions and jobs, citing the absence of valid grounds to breach the 50 per cent reservation limit.

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