(Eds: Adding quotes) Mumbai, May 28 (PTI) BJP MP Sambhaji Chhatrapati on Friday warned that if the Maharashtra government does not accept his demands concerning the Maratha community by June 6, he would launch an agitation regardless of the coronavirus- induced restrictions.
Speaking to reporters here, the descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj said he submitted a list of his demands to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday.
His warning comes over three weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the Maharashtra law granting quota to the Maratha community in admissions and government jobs, by terming it as 'unconstitutional', and held that there were no exceptional circumstances to breach the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the 1992 Mandal verdict.
'I submitted a list of five demands to CM Uddhav Thackeray today. If the state government does not accept them by June 6, I will personally launch an agitation at Raigad fort regardless of the COVID-19 restrictions,' he said.
'The Supreme Court on May 5 struck down the Maratha reservation law of the state government. (At that time) I had requested the people to desist from any giving any strong reaction. But I will not do so this time,' he said.
The parliamentarian had on Thursday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar to discuss the Maratha reservation issue and urged him to take an initiative in the matter. Over the last few days, he toured parts of the state to discuss with locals from the community regarding the future course of action.
Convening a two-day session of the state legislature to take some decisions that would benefit the Maratha community, and setting up of district level hostels for Maratha students are two of his demands.
His other demands are- empowering SARTHI (Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research, Training and Human Development Institute) with efficient and active people, giving it a funding of Rs 1,000 crore; increasing the amount of loan given by Annasaheb Patil Economically Backward Development Corporation to Rs 25 lakh, he said.
'I have placed these demands before the chief minister. I will wait for the decision till June 6,' he said.
Sambhaji Chhatrapati, a BJP nominated Rajya Sabha member, said he also demanded that the state government files a review petition in the Supreme Court against its decision to strike down the law granting reservation to Marathas, which was passed by the Maharashtra government in 2018.
'If it does not help, the state can also file a curative petition. It is very rare to file such a petition, but the state should do it,' he said.
'There is another option before the state government that it can submit a proposal under Article 342 (A and B) of the Constitution to the President via Governor to consider awarding reservation to the Maratha community,' he said.
The president can direct the Backward Class Commission and later the Parliament to consider it, the MP added.
The Gaikwad Commission's report that was expected to help in getting the desired reservation for the Maratha community, will have to be reviewed, he said.
'If there are some errors in the report, we need to fix them. It is the responsibility of the state,' he said.
Referring to a demand made by some Maratha leaders that the community should be identified as OBC, he said, 'I think leaders like Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Devendra Fadnavis should state their views over this demand made in the past by some of the Maratha leaders.' Around 30 per cent Marathas might be rich, but we should not forget the remaining 70 per cent who are poor, he said.
Maratha is a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population. PTI ND NP NP