Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress President (NCP) on Friday said that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to show courage to nullify BJP chief Amit Shah’s remark that reservation can’t exceed 50 percent to grant reservation to Marathas.
Hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not granting quota to the Muslim community, Pawar questioned Party’s stand that reservation could not be given on religious basis.
It is to be noted that Maharashtra government has unanimously passed a bill allocating 16 percent quota to Marathas in jobs and education. The newly passed quota took the overall reservation in the state to 68 percent from the existing 52.
When asked, Sharad Pawar told news agency PTI, “He (Shah) has clearly said that reservations cannot be given above 50 per cent and demand for the same was not right. Now, it is the test of the chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis).”
“We are watching if the chief minister shows the courage of taking a different view, overruling the stand of his party chief,” he added. Pawar was speaking to reporters after an event here where former Member of Legislative Council from Nashik, Apurva Hiray, returned to the NCP fold after quitting the ruling BJP.
Responding to PIL filed in the high court against Maratha reservation legislation, Pawar said that people have the right to approach the court. “Our only stand in this matter is the government should implement the 16 per cent quota given to the new community (Marathas) without hurting the interests of other communities (which already have reservation),” Pawar said.
Speaking about reservation for Muslims, Pawar said, “It must be given. These are educationally, socially and economically backward sections… The previous (Congress-NCP) government had taken a decision (to grant Muslim quota). The court also approved it. The government today says it would not give reservations based on religion….the BJP leadership has a different view of people belonging to other religions.”
Notably, addressing rallies in Telangana on November 25, Shah had opposed the TRS government’s proposal to increase reservation for the Muslims in that state, saying the Supreme Court has imposed an overall cap of 50 per cent.
“I want to tell Chandrasekhar Rao, the Supreme Court has fixed 50 per cent ceiling. If you want to provide 12 per cent reservation, from whose quota are you going to carve it out: from Dalits, tribals or OBCs. Decide this first,” Shah had said.