Bhujbal, other OBC leaders to challenge Maratha reservation in court | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Bhujbal, other OBC leaders to challenge Maratha reservation in court

Jan 28, 2024 07:30 AM IST

Several OBC leaders from various political parties and outfits have come together and opposed the inclusion of Marathas in the OBC quota.

MUMBAI: The state government’s decision to accept all the demands of the Maratha reservationists is being staunchly opposed by the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), who have long been fighting Manoj Jarange-Patil’s demand that all Marathas be included in the OBC quota for a share in the reservation pie. The OBC community’s leaders are likely to now take an aggressive stand and hold agitations across the state.

Prakash Shendge, who heads the OBC Janmorcha, said it would start agitations at tehsils and districts across the state. (Hindustan Times)
Prakash Shendge, who heads the OBC Janmorcha, said it would start agitations at tehsils and districts across the state. (Hindustan Times)

The first vehement objection has come from senior OBC leader and NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who indicated that he would move court as soon the government issued a final notification on giving Kunbi certificates to all 57 lakh Marathas with Kunbi antecedents as well as reservation to their blood relatives and relatives by marriages within the same caste by merely filing affidavits. Bhujbal has convened a meeting of OBC leaders from all parties on Sunday evening at his Mumbai residence to decide the future course of action.

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READ | Maratha quota stir ends as govt accepts demand

“The provision to issue Kunbi certificates to blood relatives of those with Kunbi antecedents and even those related by marriage will not stand in a court of law,” said Bhujbal. “How can caste certificates be issued based on affidavits?” Opening up a front against his own government, the minister made an appeal to the OBC community. “The government has sought suggestions and objections on the draft notification,” he said. “I appeal to the entire OBC community to file their objections, as this must be vigorously opposed. When the final notification is issued, we can go to court.”

Prakash Shendge, another senior OBC leader, termed it a “black day for OBCs in Maharashtra” and also announced that he would challenge the decision in court. “The government is making changes in the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012 which is applicable to all the backward communities for obtaining caste certificates,” he said. “This means that the provision for obtaining caste certificates will be made applicable for other castes as well.”

READ | Existing OBCs strongly oppose OBC status to Marathas

Several OBC leaders from various political parties and outfits have come together and opposed the inclusion of Marathas in the OBC quota. They have held six rallies in various parts of the state so far. Shendge, who heads the OBC Janmorcha, said it would start agitations at tehsils and districts across the state. “The government has succeeded in pushing Marathas into the OBC quota,” he said. “This is a jolt to us. If three crore people get OBC reservation, then it is daylight robbery of our quota.”

Shendge also reminded the government that it had assured OBCs that their quota would be untouched. “We will also challenge the claim of 57 lakh records of Kunbi antecedents, as we don’t know where they have found these,” he said. “It is a black day for OBCs in Maharashtra.”

OBC Mahasangh president Baban Taywade said the provision of issuing Kunbi certificates on the basis of filing an affidavit was problematic and needed to be objected to. “We are against this provision, as it enables anyone to obtain a caste certificate by filing an affidavit,” he said. “We will ask our community members to file their objections to this.”

The social justice department has sought suggestions and objections from the people on the draft notification till February 16, and will issue a final notification after studying these. The provision will come into effect after the issuance of the final notification.

Senior BJP leader and national secretary Pankaja Munde too admitted that the decision was a jolt for OBCs. “By taking Kunbi certificates, one generation of Marathas has come into the OBC quota,” she said. “Considering the limited quota for reservation, a struggle will definitely break out. It is a small jolt for the OBCs, as the Marathas have got space in our quota.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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