"We will make an announcement after June 20," Industry Minister Narayan Rane, who heads the special committee to study the socio-economic conditions of the Maratha community, told the Legislative Council today while replying to a discussion on the issue. The move has been opposed by Other Backward Classes, who apprehend that quotas for politically powerful Maratha community would encroach upon reservations for the weaker sections.
The committeee has, however, said quotas for Marathas would be brought without touching existing reservation for the backward classes. "The model code of conduct is in force till June 20. We would convene a Cabinet meeting on June 21 and take a decision," Rane told reporters outside the House. June 20 is the date when the code of conduct for Legislative Council polls, in force in many parts of the state, ends.
"We conducted a survey of five lakh families in all 35 districts and the Marathas were found socially, economically and educationally backward and so we have recommended 20 per cent reservation for them," Rane, himself an influential Maratha leader, said.
When asked whether the government would consider giving four per cent of the 20 per cent reservation proposed for Marathas to Muslims, who are also demanding quotas in jobs and education, the Minister replied in the negative.
"I don't think they are demanding any quota from within 20 per cent we have proposed for Marathas. If they are to get reservation, a separate legal arrangement will have to be made. Government is thinking about it," he said.
State Assembly elections are due in October and many in the ruling alliance have been insisting on quotas for Marathas to be brought before the model code kicks in. Congress-NCP alliance was left badly battered in the Lok Sabha elections with their joint tally at an all-time low of six. The 'Mahayuti', a grand alliance of five parties led by BJP and Shiv Sena, clinched 42 of state's 48 seats.