In 2008, the commission helmed by Retd. Justice Bapat refused to recommend Maratha reservation.
Mumbai: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis plans to play the Maratha reservation card, with the issue likely to erupt ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections next year. The government has asked that the proceedings before the state backward class commission be accelerated. The commission’s sanction is required for deciding on reservation.
In 2008, the commission helmed by Retd. Justice Bapat refused to recommend Maratha reservation. Then, Maratha reservations given by the Congress government on the basis of the report submitted by the committee helmed by the then revenue minister Narayan Rane were stayed by the high court.
The Fadnavis-led government appointed Retd. Justice M.G. Gaikwad as the chairman of the state backward class commission after the death of Justice Sambhaji Mhase. Now, the state backward class commission is working on the recent sample surveys conducted across 700 villages.
Last year’s statewide Maratha Kranti Morcha had given the government an ultimatum of February 10 but the commission has not yet completed the work. Recently, Maratha organisations met and decided to start agitations across the state. They threatened the government that the agitations would turn aggressive if the community’s demands were not met.
Ahead of next year’s elections, the issue may prove to be a headache for the government. If the government approves reservation and agrees to the Marathas’ demand for procedural changes under the Atrocities Act, it will anger the dalit community. The dalits are already upset due to the Supreme Court judgment, which has diluted the Atrocities Act.
While the government has asked for proceedings before the state backward class commission to be accelerated, the commission will have to verify proofs of backwardness of the community to annul its earlier findings. It will be an uphill task for Mr Fadnavis to pacify the Maratha community.