‘Delay in implementing Maratha quota law could spark outrage’

Udayanraje Bhosale urges politicians to ensure that the community gets justice

Exhorting Maharashtra’s leaders to stop indulging in politics over the Maratha quota, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a direct descendant of the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, has warned that the delay in implementing the reservation law could spark uncontrollable outrage among the community in the State.

Rebuking the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for its tardiness in ensuring the implementation of the Maratha quota law, Mr. Bhosale said that the simmering resentment among the Maratha community was in real danger of spilling over.

“If that happens, things could go out of hand. So, I urge every leader in the State not to wait until this moment and instead act fast… every MP and MLA in the State has a sizable Maratha electorate in his or her constituency. So, it is pointless to discriminate one community against another,” said the Rajya Sabha MP from Satara. He said it was in every leader’s interest to see that justice was done for the Maratha community.

Mr. Bhosale shared the dais with his rival and cousin, BJP legislator Shivendraraje Bhosale (another descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji), at a function in Satara, where they urged the State’s politicians to close ranks over the issue.

‘Merit-based approach’

Earlier, Mr. Bhosale said if the MVA government failed to get the Maratha quota law implemented, then reservation for all communities ought to be scrapped. Mr. Bhosale had called for a merit-based approach instead.

On Thursday, Mr. Udayanraje Bhosale said the Maratha community did not want a quota whose benefits were sliced off from the OBC reservation. “Do not give us [the Maratha community] a quota while disadvantaging other communities. Our point is when all other backward communities are availing of reservation benefits, then why is that the Maratha community is being excluded?” he asked.

Mr. Bhosale observed that it was a fallacy in perceiving the Maratha community as ‘upwardly mobile’ just because some of its community members were stalwarts in a number of areas.

‘Future looks bleak’

“The condition of labourers and students within the Maratha community is especially parlous… several of them are financially disadvantaged. Today, Maratha students are passed over despite securing more marks than their counterparts from other reserved communities,” he said, stating that the future looked bleak for these students. Mr. Bhosale further urged the community not to vote for those leaders in elections who did not stand up for their rights.

Mr. Bhosale was earlier with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He joined the BJP before the last Lok Sabha elections, only to be trounced by the NCP’s Shriniwas Patil.

The storm of the Maratha agitation throughout 2018 saw Mr. Bhosale cast in the role of a possibly important mediator between the community’s interests and the then BJP government.

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