Published By: Kavya Mishra
Last Updated: September 05, 2023, 23:42 IST
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday demanded that the Centre remove the 50 per cent cap on quota and raise it by 15-16 per cent to accommodate more communities, amid the renewed focus on Maratha reservation in Maharashtra.
Addressing a news conference, The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief said if the Centre brings a bill on women’s reservation, his party will support it. The government has called for a special session of Parliament from September 18 to 22.
The state is currently witnessing protests by the Maratha community, demanding reservations in government jobs and educational institutions.
“Some people say that making more people (communities) beneficiaries of the OBC (other backward class) quota is injustice to the poor people of the (existing) OBC quota. This cannot be ignored.
“The option is to make amendments by the Centre in Parliament to the existing 50 per cent cap and add 15-16 per cent to it,” Pawar said in response to a question on demands being made by some leaders to accommodate Marathas in the existing OBC quota.
He said there should be no differences between OBC and other communities.
Maratha reservation returned to the centre stage last week after the police baton-charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob in Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna district. The police said protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift a man on hunger strike for Maratha quota to the hospital.
Pawar demanded that the government clarify who issued the orders to baton-charge the protesters.
Several persons, including 40 police personnel, were injured and more than 15 state transport buses were set ablaze in the Jalna violence.
Pawar said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has called for a meeting on Wednesday of all party heads of the INDIA alliance, an opposition bloc of 28 parties aiming to take on the BJP-led Centre in next year’s general elections.
On the ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal, Pawar said the Centre has formed a panel headed by a former president to study the issue, but it has not included the Leader of Opposition in it.
“I have not seen in years the government forming a committee headed by a former president. If the government is serious about this, then the Leader of Opposition has to be included in the panel,” Pawar said.
The BJP-led Centre last week announced an eight-member committee to examine and make recommendations at the earliest on the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities and panchayats.
The committee, which will be headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind, will have Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Finance Commission chairman N K Singh as members, according to an official notification.
Chowdhury has declined to be a part of the committee.
“Today, Mallikarjun Kharge is the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, but he was not included in the panel. In Lok Sabha, there is a leader of the party (Chowdhury), but he was included in the panel. This is an attempt to divert attention from issues plaguing the country,” Pawar said.
On the drought-like situation in many parts of Maharashtra, Pawar said fodder for cattle, drinking water, steps to salvage crops wherever possible, economic assistance to farmers and suspension of all types of state levies are some of the measures that need to be taken by the government.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)