Sena against any political ‘bid’ to take Maratha quota credit

Two days after the Maharashtra legislature cleared Maratha quota bill, the Shiv Sena on Saturday took a veiled dig at the ruling BJP saying a political mileage should not be derived out of the issue. In an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said the Marathas should get the reservation with “due respect”. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which is a ruling constituent in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, also said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis handled the Maratha quota issue “cleverly’ and with patience. “All political elements were taken into confidence before providing reservation to Marathas,” the editorial said. On November 29, the state legislature passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas under specially created Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) category. State Governor Vidyasagar Rao Friday gave his nod to the bill. “We were saying from Day One that reservation should not be given to the Marathas only as a show-off measure. They should get it with respect and that political arithmetic and benefits should not be sought. Many a times, announcements are made but final decisions languish in courts,” the Sena said. Sena further said reservation to any community reflects the importance that particular bloc enjoys in the state’s politics and culture. “While the Marathas account for 30 per cent of the total population of Maharashtra, 70 per cent of the community members are living in huts or mud houses,” it said, adding that 91 per cent of the (Maratha) community members have an annual income of less than Rs one lakh. According to Sena, 24.2 per cent of the Maratha population falls under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and over 70 per cent of the community members are small farmers. The Sena said a large chunk of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide in Maharashtra due to agrarian distress in the last few years were Marathas.

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