‘Reservations for Marathas, Muslims historic step’

Mumbai: Maharashtra’s ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine Thursday termed the decision to provide reservations to Marathas and Muslims as “historic” and said it was taken after examining all legal aspects.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced the government’s decision to provide 16 percent reservations to Marathas and five percent to Muslims in jobs and education but apprehensions were raised in some quarters that it would violate certain legal provisions.

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NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik assured that the decision will stand in the courts as all legal aspects have been examined.

“Although the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party partly were in favour of the reservations move, the opposition parties may create legal hurdles against the Maratha and Muslim reservations,” he contended.

Minority Affairs Minister M.A. Naseem Khan, terming the decision as “historic and revolutionary” said that it would greatly contribute to the development and inclusion of the Muslim community.

“In the past, several surveys and reports have referred to the social, economic and educational backwardness of the Muslim community. The Sachar Committee and the state government’s Rahman Committee also highlighted these issues,” said the Congress leader.

Both these panels spoke about the need for reservations for Muslims in education and jobs to enable them join the national mainstream, he pointed out.

“Available data shows that Muslim representation in government jobs is very poor. The reservations would help empower Muslims socially and economically,” Khan said.

The state government had made its announcement Wednesday night.

This would be addition to the existing 52 percent reservations for various categories like SC, ST, OBC in the state and will now take the total reservations to 73 percent.

Dismissing contentions that it was politically motivated, Chavan had made it clear that the proposal was under consideration since past ten years and was not announced with an eye on the forthcoming state assembly elections.