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Maharashtra govt ignores Muslims, passes bill for Maratha reservation
Opposition accuses BJP of playing 'communal politics; Congress MLA threatens to go to court if the state does not introduce Muslim Reservation Bill in the house Wednesday
Wednesday December 24, 2014 12:39 PM , News Network

In an open display of bias against the Muslims, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in Maharashtra Tuesday introduced the Maratha Reservation Bill in the Vidhan Saha, the lower house of the state legislature, while ignoring a similar legislation for Muslim reservation.

Reservation March
[Demanding reservation for Muslims, Asif Shaikh had in May 2013 walked about 300 kms from Malegaon to Mumbai with hundreds of his supporters. ( file photo) ]

The Maratha Reservation Bill, introduced by the Fadnavis government in the lower house just a day before the Nagpur session ends, will now be sent to the Vidhan Parishad, the upper house of the state, Wednesday.

Opposition members led by senior Congress leader and newly appointed Opposition Leader Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil were on their foot demanding the simultaneous introduction of the Muslim Reservation Bill.

The BJP government however blatantly ignored the opposition demand and passed the Maratha Reservation Bill amid the din in the house.

"You are trying to 'implement the RSS's communal agenda' on the basis of numerical strength", Senior NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was heard as saying in the house.

Amin Patel, Aslam Shaikh and Asif Shaikh of Congress, Abu Asim Azmi of the Samajwadi Party and Waris Pathan of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) were all demanding similar bill for the Muslims. They walked out of the house after their demand was turned down.

The Congress-NCP government had issued ordinances providing 16 per cent reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to the politically dominant Maratha community, and five per cent reservation to the Muslim community in June this year with an eye on the October Assembly elections.

The Bombay high court, however, passed an interim order staying the reservation for Marathas and job reservation for Muslims while allowing five per cent reservation for Muslims in educational institutions. The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the High Court order.

The introduction of the Muslim Reservation Bill in this session was important as the ordinance on Muslim reservation issued by the previous government will lapse on Wednesday. Muslims will be devoid of reservation even after court order if the bill is not passed today.

Chief Minister Fadnavis, however, defended his government's move and said the final decision regarding Muslim reservation would be taken after consulting the State Advocate General.

"We are not against anyone. The high court had quashed the job reservation for Muslims as promulgated in the ordinance. We could not have brought in the half bill. We will bring it after taking advice from the Advocate General. The opposition is playing politics with this issue despite the CM's assurance," claimed Education Minister Vinod Tawade.

Meanwhile, Asif Shaikh, Congress MLA from Malegaon (Central), while talking to said that he will file a petition in the court if the BJP government did not bring in the legislation for Muslim reservation Wednesday - the last day of the Nagpur session.

Demanding reservation for Muslims, Asif Shaikh had in May 2013 walked about 300 kms from Malegaon to Mumbai with hundreds of his supporters.

Later, Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee in its recommendations submitted to the state government had also suggested giving reservation to Muslims.



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