Nagpur: Reservation for the Maratha community will not eat into the existing quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday.
Fadnavis met protesters from the OBC communities at Samvidhan Square here and gave them the assurance.
The government would not let the OBC quota get divided further or reduced under any circumstances, he said.
“The main demand of the Maratha community is about the 12-13 percent reservation given to them when I was chief minister. They want that reservation back,” Fadnavis told the gathering.
The current government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has started work on a review petition to be filed in the Supreme Court (which had in 2021 set aside the reservation granted to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions), he said.
The government is seeking to restore the reservation for the Maratha community which is different from the OBC quota, Fadnavis stressed.
“A situation where one community is pitted against another community is not good for the social fabric of the state,” he said, adding that the state government will not allow such a conflict to arise.
While the issue of Maratha quota took centre stage earlier this month with the hunger strike of Maratha activist Manoj Jarange, there were protests by OBC outfits in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Nagpur and Chandrapur against the possible inclusion of the Maratha community in the OBC category.
Speaking to reporters at the Nagpur airport earlier in the day, Fadnavis said the state government ‘has taken a clear stand about not touching, reducing or sharing the OBC quota’.
“Hence, we request the OBC community to withdraw their agitation,” he said.
He personally requested the agitators in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where he attended a special cabinet meeting earlier in the day, to call off their agitation, he said, adding, I believe that those (protesters) will end their hunger strike. Following Jarange’s hunger strike, the government last week decided to grant ‘Kunbi’ caste certificates to the Marathas whose ancestors were described as Kunbi in Nizam-era documents.
It would allow the Marathas from the state’s Marathwada region to avail of quota benefits as the Kunbis fall in the OBC group. But it prompted the Rashtriya OBC Mahasangh to launch a protest.
Fadnavis, meanwhile, also dismissed as rumour the reports that all government jobs will become contractual.
“Only a part of the vacancies will be filled up on a contractual basis,” he said.
The state government would soon fill up 1, 50,000 vacant posts which would be ‘the largest in the history of government recruitment’, the deputy CM said.