Maratha quota demand faces legal hurdles, says Minister Girish Mahajan

Mahajan accused the opposition of deriving political mileage from the Maratha reservation issue and asserted it was the previous Devendra Fadnavis government which granted the quota.
Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan
Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan Photo | X - @girishdmahajan

PUNE: Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan has said that the demand of quota activist Maroj Jarange for the inclusion of "sage soyare" term in the Maratha reservation notification will not withstand legal scrutiny.

The term "sage soyare" in Marathi means through birth relations and relations by marriage.

Speaking to the reporters in Pune on Wednesday, BJP leader Mahajan accused the opposition for deriving political mileage from the Maratha reservation issue and asserted it was the previous Devendra Fadnavis government which granted quota to the Maratha community without disturbing the allocation of other communities.

"In the last 50 years, had anyone made efforts to give reservation to the Maratha community? (NCP-SP chief) Sharad Pawar had even said there was no need to give reservation to Marathas," claimed Mahajan, a confidante of Fadnavis.

Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan
Maha approval to 10% Maratha quota

After the BJP-led government granted quota to the Maratha community, the subsequent Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government failed to defend the reservation in the Supreme Court, he said.

"The BJP's stand is very clear and it is in support of quota for the Maratha community.It is our stand to give reservation to the Maratha community without touching the reservation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). What can we do if, despite all these efforts, Manoj Jarange is not satisfied?" the BJP leader remarked.

"As far as I know, reservation for "sage soyare" cannot be given, but if there is a workable solution, the government will pursue it," he added.

Notably, Jarange has said Marathas will be left with no choice other than contesting state assembly elections in collaboration with other social groups if their demands are not fulfilled.

"Politics is not our way. But if our demands are not fulfilled, we will be left with no other option except contesting elections. We will contest elections in all 288 assembly seats in the state," he further added .

Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan
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The 41-year-old activist has been demanding implementation of the draft notification that recognises Kunbis as "sage soyare" (blood relatives) of Maratha community members and also seeking a law to identify Kunbis as Marathas.

Kunbi, an agrarian group, falls under the OBC category, and Jarange has been demanding that Kunbi certificates be issued to all Marathas, thus making them eligible for quota in government jobs and education.

In February this year, the state assembly unanimously passed a bill granting a separate 10 per cent reservation in education and jobs to the Maratha community.

However, the community has been demanding quota under the OBC grouping.

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