Maratha quotas: CM Shinde seeks to buy time till Feb 2024, Jarange-Patil sticks to Dec 24 ultimatum

Nagpur, Dec 20 (IANS): In a major announcement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday said that a special session of the Legislature would be convened in February 2024 where the Maratha reservation will be announced without affecting the quotas of any other community and within the legal framework.

Replying to a 17-hour long debate in the Assembly on the Maratha quotas issue in which 74 legislators participated, Shinde said that the report of the Sandeep Shinde Committee is expected within a month and the proposed curative petition in the Supreme Court would also be a ray of hope.

"The report of the Backward Classes Commission will be available after a month, the government will study it and then announce the quotas for the Marathas in a special session of the legislature," he declared as the Opposition protested and staged a walkout during his speech.

However, Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil said he was not concerned about any commission report, and said he would stick to the December 24 deadline for Maratha quotas as announced last month, after his hunger strike.

"The government must announce the quotas by December 24, failing which crores of Marathas will launch a fresh agitation," warned Jarange-Patil in his initial reactions.

The CM said that the Marathas have contributed immensely to the development of the state and society and the natural right for their quotas cannot be ignored for the community’s progress, and all the political parties were unanimous on this.

However, in recent times, he said – without taking names - that certain attempts were being made to create a societal rift, which was unbecoming for a progressive state like Maharashtra.

Shinde said for the government, all castes and religions are equal and all sections of the society are entitled to their equal share in the development, and reiterated that the government was committed to give the reservation.

He gave a backgrounder of the entire quotas issue, the steps taken by his government and earlier the regime of ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis, the court hurdles, the 56 peaceful mega-processions taken out by the Marathas, the recent agitation by all the Maratha groups since August, the various commissions that examined the matter and related issues.

The CM said that many Maratha-Kunbi Caste documents have been found in the past month or so and they are being issued the Kunbi OBC Caste certificates to enable them get the OBC quotas.

However, he warned that anybody taking false advantage with false documents, including the officials, would face stringent legal action, including jail and penalties.

Shinde also appealed to the Maratha youth not to resort to extreme measures like suicide, and called upon all parties to help maintain law and order, while the government works to settle the quotas.



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Title: Maratha quotas: CM Shinde seeks to buy time till Feb 2024, Jarange-Patil sticks to Dec 24 ultimatum

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