Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on Wednesday urged Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to extend the Winter Session of the Maharashtra Legislature slated to be held between December 7 and 20 in order to enable the House to pass legislation pertaining to Maratha reservation.
Mr. Jarange Patil also indicated a willingness to extend the December 24 ‘ultimatum’ he had issued to the Shinde government to give reservation to the Marathas by giving them OBC Kunbi certificates.
“I appeal to CM Shinde and the two Deputy CMs, Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, to extend the Winter Session that begins from December 7 by another four to five days to enable the House to pass legislation on the Maratha quota issue. The reason being the government should not again give the pretext that the session got over and hence they could not do anything about the reservation,” said the activist, speaking in Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad).
He urged Mr. Shinde to exhort the State Backward Class Commission to expedite its work of finding proofs showing Marathas to be Kunbi OBCs, while stating that he was willing to extend the December 24 deadline in order to grant the government a few more days to complete the reservation process.
“A couple of days before, top officials of the government called me and I agreed to their request to extend the December 24 deadline by some days. However, Mr. Shinde must justify the trust reposed in him by the Maratha community, which is eagerly looking up to him to grant us a quota. He should fulfil his word at any cost,” Mr. Jarange Patil said, while warning that the government must take the Marathas into the OBC category else it would not be able to face the ire of the Marathas.
“Do not keep us waiting. The government must not indulge in any deception at this stage,” he warned.
Meanwhile, even as the activist signalled a comedown from his rigid stance, Maharashtra Revenue Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil hit out at his cabinet colleague, Chhagan Bhujbal of the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – who is Jarange Patil bitter detractor – and said Mr. Bhubal ought to resign as minister if he wished to take a different stance on the Maratha quota issue.
Mr. Bhujbal, a prominent other backward class (OBC) leader, has been the most vocal opponent of Mr. Jarange Patil’s demands and has said the Marathas must get their reservation separately and not from the pie of the existing OBC quota.
Speaking in Kolhapur, Mr. Vikhe Patil ticked-off his colleague (Mr. Bhujbal) by remarking that the Eknath Shinde government was committed and had honest intentions about giving a foolproof quota to the Maratha community.
“So, it reflects badly when a senior cabinet member takes a different stance. It implies that the government is not speaking in one voice. It raises questions about the government’s credibility,” said Mr. Vikhe Patil.
Stating that the OBC versus Maratha controversy created by Mr. Bhujbal’s remarks and attacks on Mr. Jarange Patil was “meaningless” and would only serve to create “a rift between the two communities.”
“Mr. Bhujbal is a senior leader and needs to show restraint. He should resign if he wishes to take a different stance. We will have to demand the CM to take action against him if he continues in this manner,” Mr. Vikhe Patil said.