Launching yet another broadside against Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil, Other Backward Class (OBC) leader and Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Thursday flayed the activist for demanding the inclusion of the Maratha community under the OBC category while boasting of challenging the Mandal Commission’s recommendations that had resulted in reservation for the OBCs in the early 1990s.
“If you are a real ‘Patil’, then go ahead and challenge the erstwhile Mandal Commission, who is the creator of the OBC reservation. On the one hand, he is trying to force the Marathas into securing reservation under the Kunbi OBC category through the back door. On the other hand, he boasts of challenging the Mandal Commission’s recommendations that led to OBCs being granted reservation,” Mr. Bhujbal said.
The OBC leader, who belongs to the ruling Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said Jarange-Patil lacked basic intelligence to comprehend that if he indeed questioned the Mandal Commission recommendations, then the reservation of Marathas being included under the Kunbi OBC category would stand cancelled.
The Mandal Commission, officially called the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission, was established in 1979 with B.P. Mandal, a Member of Parliament, serving as its chairman. The commission submitted its report to the President of India in 1980, which disclosed that OBCs constituted approximately 52% of the country’s population and proposed a 27% reservation for them in government jobs.
A decade later, in August 1990, then-Prime Minister V.P. Singh took the historic decision of implementing the Commission’s recommendations, which led to the introduction of quotas for OBCs in government jobs.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bhujbal said that he expected a special session of the Maharashtra Legislature to convene of February 15-16 to pass a law regarding the Maratha quota.
“We are firm on our opinion that the Marathas should be given them a separate quota and no backdoor entry under the OBC category. We fully support this separate quota but will continue to oppose the policy of giving false Kunbi OBC certificates to Marathas,” Mr. Bhujbal said.
Commenting on Mr. Jarange-Patil’s ultimatum to the State government to commence upon yet another hunger strike from February 10 onwards, Mr. Bhujbal said, “What does he think of himself? Giving ultimatums to the government in this manner.”
Mr. Jarange-Patil, who is currently on a tour of Mr. Bhujbal’s stronghold in Nashik district, hit back at the OBC leader, chiding him for his statement that he had allegedly resigned from the Maharashtra cabinet last November.
“Bhujbal is not the type to resign. But that is not the point and I don’t even want to get into it…I want to warn him that he should not needlessly keep provoking us. We don’t want to challenge the Mandal Commission recommendations but will be compelled to do if Bhujbal is bent upon preventing our reservation under the OBC category,” the activist said.
Mr. Jarange-Patil has remained adamant on resuming his agitation from February 10 while demanding that the Eknath Shinde-led government make good its promise of granting OBC caste certificates to blood relatives of Marathas whose records proved them as Kunbis.