Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis woos Marathas, promises them reservation, hostels

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis assured the Maratha and Muslim communities in the state that the BJP government is "committed" towards providing them reservation.

"The case is pending in the high court, but we are happy to provide a 5 percent reservation for Muslims," Fadnavis said at the state Assembly in Nagpur. "The Maratha Morcha is silent in the state, but I assure the community that their voice will reach the government. I assure them that BJP government will grant them reservation. The case is stuck due to a legal battle, but we will take it to its logical conclusion."

 Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis woos Marathas, promises them reservation, hostels

Devendra Fadnavis. Reuters file image

He said that while there will be reservations for Marathas, the government will not cut it out from the other states. "I am personally looking into the issue. We will not cut down the other communities' quotas to give Marathas their reservation. The government will take care of everybody in the state," Fadnavis said.

The state government has filed a detailed and comprehensive affidavit in the Bombay High Court and has made out a case for more reservation, Fadnavis said. "The state will connect information about the Atrocity Act being misused. But we aren't going to dilute the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1988," he added.

After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections had gone the way of the NDA, the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, eyeing the Assembly polls later that year, had issued an ordinance allowing 16 percent reservations for Marathas and 5 percent for Muslims. "The Congress-NCP was in power in Maharashtra for 15 years. Why didn't they give reservations earlier?" Fadnavis asked. "But I am not blaming anybody. It's a question of ensuring justice to the community is done. I am sure that our government will do so. Some leaders may try to politicise the issue, but the Maratha people know who is on their side," he said.

To ensure poor students have a roof over their heads, Fadnavis said the government will build hostels in rural and urban areas. "In urban and rural districts where there aren't hostel facilities, we will provide Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively, so that new hostels can be built," he added.

Responding to the renewed demands from opponents of the Atrocity Act, who say the law is being misused, Fadnavis said, "We are serious about resolving the issue. We will form an all-party committee to monitor the progress of the reservation case. The BJP-led government will present a strong case in the high court and apex court to press for Maratha and Muslim reservations."

Fadnavis also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre's decision to demonetise high value currency. "To move forward on demonetisation, PM Modi had appealed to all citizens of the country to go cashless. Taking the PM's dream forward, Maharashtra government has introduced a mobile wallet called Maha Wallet. We are taking this opportunity to ensure we go cashless. We have prepared a roadmap to produce a cashless economy. We will introduce Maha Wallet, so that a majority of transactions can be via mobile phones. We have also appointed 1,000 volunteers to teach people about cashless transactions," he said.

Fadnavis said he had led a delegation to meet Arun Jaitley, where they asked the finance minister to allow district cooperative banks to accept demonetised notes and exchange them. "Leaders like Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Dhananjay Munde and Subhash Desai also present at the meeting. Jaitley met us and assured us of sorting out the issue soon," Fadnavis said.

The Maharashtra government had found over one crore bogus ration cards. Fadnavis said the public distribution system (PDS) will be upgraded to stop black marketing of foodgrain. "Later, we will connect using Adhaar cards as well, so we know how many are using their ration cards. Furthermore, the government will also introduce a biometric system next year. The government will reach out to the very last person in the state, so PDS can improve," he added.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 22:26:15 IST