Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister Nawab Malik announced five per cent Muslim quota in the education sector, but soon his statement lingered in political corridors. On contrary Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, no proposal regarding the same has come before the state government. He cited “No such proposal regarding Muslim reservation has come before the Maharashtra government. We will check its authenticity after it comes to us. We have not taken any decision about the same but some people are already banging their heads on it,” his taunt was for opposition leaders.” The minister was responding to the questions raised by Congress legislator Sharad Ranpise.
Speaking on the subject, Gani Azrekar told AV “Muslims are mere one-seventh the population of India. If you don’t think of that as a minority, please tell us your definition of minority and which dictionary you got it from. The SC/ST/OBC population form the majority of India, might even be 70 per cent Muslim reservation put in cold storage of the total population. And yet they are given reservation because they are socially economically and educationally backward, and are severely underrated. The same is the case with Muslims. Wherever Muslims get a reservation, it is because they are backward not because they are a minority. And even discounting all that, “second-largest majority” doesn’t make much sense.”
However, shortly after Malik’s remarks, senior minister Eknath Shinde said that no such decision has been taken. The senior Sena politician said leaders of the ruling MVA which comprises Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress will take a call on the issue after discussions.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister and NCP’s state unit President Jayant Patil said, that issue has not yet come to the government and all three parties in the MVA government will sit together before taking any decision on the same. Earlier, senior Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Urban Development Minister, Eknath Shinde also stated that no decision has been taken on this issue yet, additionally the MVA government works as per the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). Earlier in 2014, the Congress and NCP government in Maharashtra had issued an ordinance providing 5 per cent reservation to Muslims along with 16 per quota for the Maratha community.
Malik Shaikh told AV “Muslim reservation bill is long pending. When each government comes to power, it announces something and then the debate gets in cold storage. It’s not because they are Muslims but if the underprivileged Muslims get a reservation, they can display their merit by competing with the mainstream with these benefits that they are getting.”
Navin Bhaven said “The Tamil Nadu government has allotted 3.5 per cent of seats each to Muslims and Christians, thereby altering the OBC reservation to 23per cent from 30 per cent (since it excludes persons belonging to other Backward Castes who are either Muslims or Christians). There is no reservation granted on the basis of religion in the Central educational institutions at the national level, although reservation has been extended to religious minorities in some states.”
Malik, however, reiterated outside the legislature what he had announced inside. “The (Bombay) High Court had approved five per cent reservation (for Muslims) in government education (institutes),” he told reporters. “We will come out with an Act to ensure five per cent reservation in government education. The government will definitely take decision on giving reservation (to Muslims),” the NCP leader added.