Amidst opposition from BJP, Ajit says he will raise Muslim quota issue with CM Shinde and DyCM Fadnavis
Pawar said he told at the meeting that it was the opinion of Sattar and another minister Hasan Mushrif that Muslims get the reservation
Pune: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP0 in principle is opposed to reservation to minorities, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has said that he had held a meeting with the state minorities department minister and officials and would raise the Muslim quota issue with chief minister Eknath Shinde to find a road ahead.
Pawar, during his interaction in Pune on Monday, said he recently held a meeting with state minorities minister Abdul Sattar, officials from the departments concerned, and representatives of some organisations on the issues concerning the Muslim community.
“We discussed issues of the minority community. There was one on Maulana Azad Mandal, another Wakf Board properties, and other issues discussed at the meeting,” deputy CM said. Pawar recalled that Muslims were granted the quota in education and government jobs (when the UPA government was in power)
To a question on his stand on Muslim reservation, Ajit said, “The high court had earlier accepted the reservation (for Muslims) in education, but the quota in jobs was rejected. The Right to Education (RTE) Act was brought by the government for equal education later,” he said.
Pawar said he told at the meeting that it was the opinion of Sattar and another minister Hasan Mushrif that Muslims get the reservation, “but since this is a three-party government, I told them I would put forth this issue in front of the CM and DyCM.”
Pawar said he joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government a year after it was formed and believes that both the parties (BJP and Shiv Sena) have had an understanding. “After joining the government, I discussed with CM Shinde and DyCM Devendra Fadnavis. They told me they agree that there should be an all-round development of the state,” he said.
Ajit’s proposal can trigger friction within the alliance government in Maharashtra as the BJP has always opposed quota to minorities on the lines of religious grounds. After the Congress government in 2014 allocated four per cent reservation to Muslims and the HC also updated quota in education, the Devendra Fadnavis government later abolished it.
When asked about possible disagreements within the government, Pawar said Shinde and Fadnavis have assured him of smooth collaboration and joint working. “It was also discussed that if any issue comes up on which three parties have different views, we (Shiv Sena, BJP, and NCP) will sit down and find a solution, and if needed, the issue can be taken to a higher level for discussion,” he added.
The deputy chief minister also spoke about the rift in the party and the NCP’s name and poll symbol saying, the Election Commission of India’s decision will be acceptable to his faction.
The Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar factions have claimed the party name and symbol and have also appointed functionaries.
On being asked on the Election Commission’s hearing over the NCP symbol, Ajit said, “The Election Commission will give the final decision. After getting the dates, both sides will be represented before the poll body...I will accept the final decision that comes after that...”
Pawar was speaking in Pune on the sidelines of his visit to various Ganpati pandals.