Shivaji heir targets Uddhav, Pawar over Maratha quota

Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendent targets Thackeray, Pawar over Maratha quota

The Marathas account for nearly 33 per cent of the total 11.25 crore population of Maharashtra – and is a politically-significant community

Home Minister Amit Shah gives party membership slip to senior NCP leader Udayanraje Bhosale, after the latter joined BJP, in the presence of party Working President JP Nadda, in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

In a politically-significant development, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, on Sunday targetted NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the Maratha quota issue.

In 2018, when the BJP-Shiv Sena government was in power, the Maharashtra legislature had unanimously resolved to provide 16 per cent reservation in jobs and education. The Bombay High Court had upheld the decision but asked the state government to ensure that the quota does not exceed 12 per cent in employment and 13 per cent in admission in educational institutions.

The Supreme Court had stayed the law in Maharashtra that provided for reservation to the Maratha community under the specially-created Socially & Economically Backward Class (SEBC).

Talking to reporters, Bhosale, a former NCP MP, targetted Pawar. “During the Mandal Commission implementation, the Maratha community was overlooked. The party which ruled the state during the period overlooked the problems faced by the community, ‘’ he said in a veiled attack on Pawar, who headed the Congress government. “All communities except Marathas were given reservations during the Mandal Commission implementation. The people who trusted you and voted you to power will pull you down,’’ Bhosale said.

He also expressed surprise over how during the recent Supreme Court hearing, the state government’s counsel was absent. “The state government lawyer doesn’t attend the hearing on a date given by the Supreme Court and the people in government have no answer...he is paid for it from tax-payers' money....and he remains absent?  The community will react to such tactics,’’ he said, in a reference to Thackeray.

“(Then chief minister and now Leader of Opposition) Devendra Fadnavis took initiative and enacted a law to give quota to Marathas. Now you are in power why are you not taking the issue ahead,’’ he asked.