Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the 50% cap on reservation so that members of the Maratha community and Other Backward Class continue to get the benefits, The Hindu reported. A delegation, led by the chief minister, met Modi in New Delhi to discuss the matter.
On May 5, the Supreme Court scrapped a separate reservation in jobs and education for the Marathas, calling it unconstitutional. A five-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan had ruled that there was no extraordinary circumstance that required the Maharashtra government to break the 50% reservation cap.
The meeting between Thackeray and Modi lasted for more than 90 minutes. “Supreme Court scrapped the Maratha reservation and also the political reservation for OBCs in local civic bodies,” Thackeray said at a press conference. “We presented all the facts, and steps need to be taken for the same. He intently heard us and we are hopeful that positive steps will be taken.”
Thackeray, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Public Works Department Minister Ashok Chavan, said he was happy with his discussion with Modi. “We may not be politically together but that doesn’t mean our relationship has broken,” he added, according to ANI. “I didn’t go to meet [Former Pakistan Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif. So if I meet him [Modi] separately in person, there is nothing wrong with it.”
Chavan, who also heads the Maharashtra Cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, said the Centre needs to change the ceiling limit on reservation, The Hindu reported. “This has happened in Maharashtra today, but could be a national issue tomorrow and needs to addressed at the earliest,” he told reporters.
He also said the Maharashtra government will support the Centre in court if it decides to raise the matter.
On May 31, the Maharashtra government had announced that members of the Maratha community would be accommodated in the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Section. In 2019, the Central government had extended EWS reservation in education and jobs to poorer sections with annual income less than Rs 8 lakh. This is meant for sections of society not covered by any reservation.
The Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government has been criticised for losing the Maratha quota case in the Supreme Court and faces the threat of a massive protest by the groups.
Thackeray said the delegation also spoke to the prime minister about shifting the metro car shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony and pending Goods and Services Tax compensation worth Rs 24,306 crore to Maharashtra.