Mumbai: Despite the assurance by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that the process of granting quota to the Maratha community would be completed by December 1, the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM), a pro-quota Maratha outfit, launched the ‘Samwad Yatra’ on Friday, in a bid to keep up the pressure on the state government.
The fresh stir, spearheaded by the Maratha Kranti Morcha, has demanded that the State government grant Marathas a quota under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, and not under the ‘Maratha community’ category, which they fear will not pass in the court. At the same time, Morcha leaders have assured that the Maratha community had no intention of snatching reservation benefits currently being availed of by the OBCs.
“We want the Fadnavis government to include us in the OBC category and not push for our reservation as ‘Maratha community’ members. This can be achieved by expanding the reservation limit of the state, which currently stands at 52 per cent,” said Shantaram Kunjir, a Morcha coordinator, heading the ‘Samwad Yatra’.
Raghunath Chitre-Patil, another Morcha convener, said that in 2014, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government had approved a 16 per cent Maratha quota, which did not work out, as it was reservation ‘on the lines of a caste or community’, not on economic grounds.
Vinod Patil, a pro-quota activist who has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on the quota issue, has urged for increasing the state’s reservation limit, so as to ensure fairness to OBCs and preserve inter-caste harmony. “The OBC category constitutes 32 per cent of the total reservation. We are demanding a quota under the ‘OBC’ category, but not at the cost of eating into the reservation of the other economically and socially backward communities.
So the government must expand the reservation limit by including the Marathas under a separate OBC category. Say for instance, if the backward classes under the OBC category are collectively labelled ‘A’, then the Marathas may be labelled as ‘A1’ under the same category,” Patil said.The Samwad Yatra will gherao the Vidhan Bhavan on November 26 if the state government fails to complete the requisite steps to grant quota.