Taking a U-Turn from the policy of not supporting caste-based reservations followed by the Shiv Sena from Bal Thackeray’s reign, the party has changed its stance and has openly demanded reservations for the Maratha community.
On Monday, the party made it clear that it supports the demands made by the Maratha community for reservations in education and government jobs.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister had earlier announced that a special session of state legislative assembly will gather to pass a “law or a resolution” to provide reservations to the Marathas. He said a special session will be summoned after the submission of the report by Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to the state government.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke in support of the reservation and said “need of the hour” is to appease the Marathas. The party stalwarts also said that there was no ‘need to wait’ for the State Backward Class Commission’s report and the special session should be summoned immediately, reported The Times of India.
Thackeray said, “The Sena doesn’t want the peace of the state to be impaired on the reservation issue. Whatever may be the criteria, the Maratha community’s demands should be met immediately,” reported TOI.
The Sena issued a memorandum clarifying the view of the party regarding reservations. It said that the state should suggest the Centre increase 50% reservation cap without letting it affect the other reservations.
This new-found support for caste-based reservation was not followed during Bal Thackeray’s rule. The party believed in economic reservations and thus was the only party against the reservations for OBCs in the 1990s. But now the party clearly wants to save its Maratha votes.
Thackeray asserted, “The state should propose reservation and address issues of not only Marathas but also other classes and communities such as Dhangar, Mahadev Koli, Wanjari, Gowari, Jangam and Muslims too”, reported TOI.
“Reservation should be provided on the basis of economic condition. It does not matter what measures are implemented, but should be ensured that poor get justice with regards to education and job concerns”, he added.
Congress has also been in favour of providing 16% reservations to the Marathas in the state. They even wrote to the state governor C Vidyasagar Rao, urging him to interfere in the matter. The grand old party also accused the state government of “dilly-dallying” the reservation issue.