MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said all parties in the state have decided to take a unanimous stand on the raging issue of reservations for the Maratha community. His comments came after an all-party meeting on the issue, which could well lead to prolonged court battles.
"All parties have the same opinion on the Maratha reservation issue, and we have decided to take unanimous stand on the matter," Fadnavis said, according to news agency ANI. "We are ready to cooperate with colleges if they have any practical problem. But if they deliberately try to trouble Maratha students over fee concessions, the education department will cancel their registration," he added.
Fadnavis had called the all-party meet on Friday, to discuss the law and order situation that has risen after the protest by some Maratha outfits turned violent on Thursday. He had called the for the all-party consultation after meeting with his own party leaders over the issue.
The issue has precipitated in the resignation of five MLAs from different parties so far. The MLAs expressly said they were resigning from the Assembly in solidarity with the Maratha reservation struggle.
The Bombay High Court in 2014 stayed implementation of the previous Congress-NCP government's decision to provide reservation to Marathas. It also stayed the decision to provide five percent reservation to Muslims in government service, but allowed quotas for them in educational institutions.
Similar reservation stirs have taken place by so-called 'intermediate communities' in different parts of the country over the past decade, like the Patidar demand in Gujarat and the Jat quota stir in Haryana. In most cases, attempts to provide different communities with reservation have run into trouble in the courts, thanks to the constitutional cap on reservations to below half.