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Updated January 29th, 2024 at 12:07 IST

OBC vs Marathas in Maharashtra: Chhagan Bhujbal Announces Protest from February 1

Chhagan Bhujbal, from Ajit Pawar faction of NCP, alleged that CM Shinde's decision to grant reservation to Marathas would push back OBCs

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
NCP Leader Chhagan Bhujbal (left) Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange (right)
NCP Leader Chhagan Bhujbal (left) Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange (right) | Image:PTI/X
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Maratha Quota Row: After Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced reservation for the Maratha community ending the stir by activist Manoj Jarange and his followers, minister Chhagan Bhujbal has announced another stir by the members of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community starting February 1. Bhujbal has alleged that including the Maratha community into the reservation fold with push behind the OBCs. 

Prominent OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal said that protests will be held outside the residences of MLAs, MPs and tehsildars on February 1 against the state government's decision regarding the Maratha quota. Bhujbal held a meeting at his official residence here which was attended by OBC legislators, leaders on Sunday. BJP MLCs Ram Shinde and Gopichand Padalkar were also present at the meeting and extended their support to Bhujbal's demands and resolutions. 

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"We will gather outside the residences of MLAs, MPs and tehsildars to protest against the current decision of the state government that is taking illegal ways to offer reservation benefits to the Maratha community. We will also hold an Elgar rally from Marathwada to unite OBCs against such decisions," said Chhagan Bhujbal to reporters. 

Bhujbal alleges step to fool OBCs

Chhagan Bhujbal, who belongs to the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar which joined the government last July, has been criticising the Shinde-led dispensation over its handling of the Maratha quota issue.

Chhagan Bhujbal said that Shinde government steps are aimed at fooling the OBC community of the state. "Steps are taken to fool the OBCs in the state. When a clear definition of relatives is stated in the law, why changes have been made illegally? Induction of Marathas into OBCs will push the existing backward classes out and they will be deprived of the reservation benefits," said Bhujbal.

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Bhujbal attacks Shinde 

Bhujbal has alleged lack of transparency in the entire process of decision. He alleged that Sunil Shukre, who heads the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC), is "active in the Maratha reservation movement". "This is a conflict of interest as the head of such commission should not have any soft corner (for Marathas)," Bhujbal added.

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"We (OBCs) were told that the reservation for OBCs will not be touched but the state (government) is now trying to give a backdoor entry to Marathas by issuing Kunbi caste certificates to them. This move will snatch the reservation benefits from more than 300 OBC castes and it will be taken by Marathas only," said Bhujbal. 

CM Shinde responds to OBC row 

Responding to the claims of fellow leaders, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde asserted that protecting the rights of other communities is the priority of the government. 

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

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(With agency inputs) 

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Published January 29th, 2024 at 12:07 IST

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