BJP MLAs slam opposition for boycotting all-party meet on quota in Maharashtra

Amid slogan-shouting by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and noisy scenes, the House was adjourned three times.
Last Updated : 10 July 2024, 12:19 IST

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Mumbai: Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday as BJP members criticised the opposition for boycotting the all-party meeting called by the government on the Maratha reservation issue the previous day.

Amid slogan-shouting by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and noisy scenes, the House was adjourned three times.

Raising the issue in the Lower House, Ameet Satam (BJP) accused the opposition of playing politics over the quota issue.

He asked the opposition to clarify its stand on the demand that Marathas be given reservation from the OBC (Other Backward Classes) quota.

"The opposition only wants to create a rift between the two communities," he charged.

Ashish Shelar (BJP) claimed the opposition backtracked at the last minute from attending the all-party meeting.

Members of the treasury benches trooped into the well of the House, slamming the opposition.

Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar accused the government of creating a social divide and remembering the opposition when things spiral out of control.

"Social tensions are the sin of the Mahayuti government," he alleged.

BJP MLA Sanjay Kute objected, saying all-party meetings were held earlier also to discuss the quota issue and the opposition attended them.

He claimed that Congress and NCP leaders have opposed reservation to Marathas.

It is the BJP-led government which gave reservation to Marathas, Kute said.

Shelar demanded that the opposition apologise to the Marathas and OBCs.

"The opposition has no intention to resolve the issue," he claimed.

Speaker Rahul Narwekar adjourned the House initially for 5 minutes and later for 10 minutes.

When the House reassembled following the second adjournment, Nitesh Rane (BJP) said the opposition's "real face" has been exposed.

"They should immediately clarify whether they want a separate quota for Marathas or from the OBCs (category)," he said.

Shelar sought to know at whose instance the opposition backtracked at the last minute. "Whose message or phone call was it?" he asked.

When Wadettiwar rose to speak, members of the treasury benches, who were in the well of House, started shouting slogans.

The speaker then adjourned the House for 45 minutes.

The Maharashtra government pushed for evolving a consensus on reservation in jobs and education for Marathas at the all-party meeting here on Tuesday evening and asserted that while resolving the emotive issue, the existing quota of other communities will not be disturbed.

The opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), comprising the Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress and NCP (SP), boycotted the all-party meet.

It was convened ahead of the assembly polls due in October and days before the end of a deadline set by Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange for the state government to accept the community's demands, including quota under the OBC category.

Last month, OBC quota activists Laxman Hake and Navnath Waghmare went on a hunger strike demanding that the draft notification that gives Kunbi certificates to Marathas to avail quota benefits under the OBC category be scrapped.

Kunbi, an agrarian community, falls in the OBC category, and Jarange, spearheading the agitation over the reservation issue, has been demanding Kunbi certificates for all Marathas, making them eligible for reservation benefits in education and government jobs.

Published 10 July 2024, 12:19 IST

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