Maratha quota row: Reservation framework should be strong, says Mungantiwar

Mumbai: Amid the raging Maratha quota row, Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar today said the government does not want to ‘fool’ the community with a hurried decision, which may end up in a long court battle.

Speaking to reporters here, Mungantiwar said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was making all efforts to give reservation to the community and emphasis was being laid on following of all due processes.

The politically influential Maratha community, which constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been agitating for reservation in jobs and education sector.

Mungantiwar said the legal framework for providing reservation has to be strong so that it cannot be challenged in court. “The government does not want to fool the community by giving them a few days of happiness with a hasty decision, which will then get entangled in legal battles,” he said.

He said the reservation protesters should realise that the government is sincerely working out a plan and that they should not pose hindrances by way of agitations. “Maharashtra follows the ideology of BR Ambedkar and Jyotirao Phule. Their way of thinking should be upheld by those protesting,” he said.

In a democracy, people have the freedom to protest, but it should be done peacefully, he said. “When expressing their ‘mann ki baat‘ (inner voice), people should not resort to violence or damage property as it is a loss of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” he told reporters here.

“When the state government last time came out with an ordinance, the Bombay High Court stayed it. When we approached the Supreme Court, it too upheld the HC’s decision,” he said.

An all-party meet had earlier been called by the chief minister to ensure consensus on the issue, he said. Fadnavis had yesterday said his government was ‘sincerely’ working towards granting quota to the Maratha community.

The government had earlier said that it would convene a special session of the state legislature to discuss Maratha reservation after receiving a report of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission.

Marathas have been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education. The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands. However, their latest round of agitations have taken an extreme turn.

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