Maha Council: Members spar over Dhangar reservation issue
Mumbai : Maharashtra Legislative Council today witnessed noisy scenes after state Tribal Affairs Minister Vishnu Savara said there would be no change in government’s stand over reservation demand by Dhangar community.
The Dhangar (shepherd) community has been pressing for reservation under the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.
As soon as the House assembled for Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde raised the issue.
He said while the BJP had promised reservation to the community prior to the state Assembly elections, they have not taken the issue seriously after coming to power.
“When the Dhangar community had protested for reservation, then BJP president Devendra Fadnavis had gone to Baramati and had promised that the community would be given reservation within a month of coming to power. But since then, the issue has not been taken seriously,” he said.
State Tribal Affairs Minister Vishnu Savara said that the government has asked Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study the issue.
“They have asked us for time till December 2017 and once we get their report, we will take the necessary action,” he said.
NCP legislator Sunil Tatkare then questioned if there is a change in the government’s earlier stand where it had said that the community cannot be given reservation.
Replying to him, Savara said there is no reason to change the government’s previous stand.
This led to strong protests and slogan-shouting by the Opposition followed by two subsequent adjournments.
Once the House reassembled after a 20-minute adjournment, Congress MLC Sharad Ranpise said Bihar has given reservation to the community.
“Bihar CM wrote a letter to Maharashtra government seeking to know the difference between ‘Dhangar’ and ‘Dhangad’. He was told there is no difference between them. He then wrote a letter to the Centre and within 15 days the community was given reservation. Why can’t Maharashtra government give reservation then?” he asked.
Intervening in the issue, Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar then asked the government to inform the House about the Attorney General’s opinion, which the government had sought. He also asked if the government will seek opinion of the Centre on whatever TISS reports.
Savara then clarified that it is not the government’s intention to not give reservation to the community.
Following slogan-shouting once again, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes.
As the House reassembled, the Chairman asked the government to keep the question pending and call a meeting of all stake-holders and invite the AG there as well.