Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal has said the Maratha community in Maharashtra should be given reservation in government jobs and education without disturbing the existing quota for OBCs.
He also criticised the Modi-led government over various issues, including the Rafale jet deal.
“Without disturbing the quota for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the Maratha community should get reservation. Nowhere the law says that reservation cannot exceed above 50 per cent,” Bhujbal said on Saturday at the Samta Melava, a conclave on social equality, in Maharashtra.
Tamil Nadu has given 69 per cent reservation, then why the Maharashtra government has not given reservation to Marathas, asked the former deputy chief minister.
Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, have been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education.
Bhujbal claimed that though OBCs have been given reservation, the scholarships to students from backward communities have been stopped.
Commenting on the Rafale deal, he alleged that the BJP is “playing” with the country’s defence.
The people of India should get an answer why the price for purchasing the fighter jets from France increased manifold, he said.
Led by the Congress, the Opposition parties have been attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over the Rs 58,000-crore deal, alleging it was procuring 36 Rafale jets from France at an exorbitantly high cost.
The government has denied the charge, contending that it was getting the jets cheaper than what the previous UPA dispensation had negotiated.
Bhujbal, the OBC face of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), called upon members of the backward communities to remain united at a time when the state Assembly elections are due next year.
The OBCs need to show the strength to get their issues resolved, he said.
Hitting out at the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, the NCP MLA said a drought-like situation is prevailing in parts of the state but the government is ignoring farmers.
More than half the farmers in Maharashtra would not benefit from the loan waiver scheme announced by the BJP-led government last year, he claimed.
Criticising the government’s 2016 demonetisation exercise, he said it has failed to unearth black money.
He also said that cross-border terrorism has not stopped and jawans are frequently getting killed at the Indian borders.