Maharashtra Muslim quota plan against Constitution: BJP

BJP on Tuesday hit out at Maharashtra government over its proposal to extend reservation in jobs and education to Muslims.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 24, 2014, 21:11 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday hit out at Maharashtra government over its proposal to extend reservation in jobs and education to Muslims although it came out in favour of the same for Marathas ahead of Assembly elections in the state.

"We do not support reservation on the lines of religion and the Constitution also does not permit this," Vinod Tawde, BJP`s Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said in reference to the proposal to grant reservation for Muslims.

But he added that, "In case of Maratha reservation, we do not mind if it is extended to the community as it will help poor students. But the move should not hurt the existing reservation for OBCs."
Addressing a news conference here, Tawde slammed NCP chief Sharad Pawar over the issue, saying, "He (Pawar) has been conducting meetings for 7-8 hours everyday and has taken control in his own hands. He knows that power is slipping out of his hands, which is why he is using these communal cards."

There is a buzz that the Maharashtra government may announce a 20 per cent quota for the Maratha community along with a 4.5 per cent reservation for Muslims, who make up more than 10 per cent of the population of the state. However, the state government is yet to take any decision in the matter.

The quota move would be of significance as the state is going to polls in October this year. The ruling Congress-NCP alliance had suffered a severe drubbing in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Maharashtra government had formed a special committee headed by industries minister Narayan Rane to study the socio- economic status of the Maratha community, which constitutes 35 per cent of the population of the state.
But the proposed move is being opposed by Other Backward Classes who fear that quotas for the politically-powerful Maratha community would encroach upon reservations for the weaker sections. The Rane panel has, however, said that the quota for Marathas would be brought in without touching the existing reservation for the backward classes.

Tawde, meanwhile, added that the meeting over seat-sharing for the Assembly elections between BJP-Shiv Sena and its alliance partners will begin next month.

"We will begin talking to our partners from July to discuss seat sharing between BJP-Shiv Sena and alliance partners, including RPI, Shetkari Sangathana and others," Tawde said, adding that several Congress leaders were in touch with BJP, but the saffron outfit would filter the entries into its ranks.