Mumbai: The Congress in Maharashtra sought to take credit for legislative nod for reservation to the Marathas Thursday and said it also marked the culmination of a long struggle by the community.
The state Assembly unanimously passed a bill proposing 16 percent reservation in government jobs and education for the Marathas under socially and educationally backward category.
Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said the decision reflected success of the struggle launched for quota by the community, which constitutes over 30 percent of the state's population.
"The Sakal Maratha Samaj raised the demand for Maratha reservation through 58 morchas (marches) across Maharashtra. The passage of the Maratha reservation act in the legislature today is a success of their struggle. I congratulate the Maratha community on their victory," Chavan told reporters.
The Sakal Maratha Samaj was one of the outfits that spearheaded the quota agitation.
"The Congress governments decision to grant Maratha reservation has finally been implemented today," the former chief minister added.
Chavan said the erstwhile Congress government had granted reservation to the Maratha community, but this decision was challenged in the Bombay High Court.
"However, the BJP-Shiv Sena government delayed for more than four years the completion of legal formalities for granting reservation to the influential community," he said.
"The delay by the BJP-Shiv Sena government in granting Maratha reservation forced lakhs of people to come onto streets in protest. Forty young people had to sacrifice their lives for Maratha reservation," said the MPCC chief.
Anger of the Maratha community and statewide protests by its members forced the government to introduce the quota bill in the Assembly, the Congress leader said.
"The original decision to grant Maratha reservation was made by the Congress government. Therefore, the Congress party has always given full support to the Maratha community's demand for reservation and their agitation," said Chavan.
"The historic decision of the Congress government to introduce Maratha reservation has been finally sealed in the legislature today. I share the joy of the Maratha community in celebrating this reservation," he added.
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Updated Date: Nov 29, 2018 20:32:01 IST