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Quota for Marathas, Muslims will benefit ruling combine


Sharad-PawarMumbai:  A candid Sharad Pawar has admitted that the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra was all set to benefit from the recently announced quotas for Marathas and Muslims.

“What is wrong if the decision benefits us in elections ? We are not a gang of sadhus and saints,” Pawar told reporters at Karad in western Maharashtra yesterday.

“The demand for the quotas was an old one. The decision has not been taken keeping in mind the potential political benefit. However, it is good if there is a benefit (to us from the decision),” Pawar said.

To a query on recent reports about replacing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Pawar said, “NCP did not make any such demand.”

“Congress had discussed (the issue) with me two-three times. May be they had something in mind. I don’t want to comment,” he said.

With an eye on assembly elections after severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-NCP government on Wednesday approved 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in government jobs and education institutions.

With the additional 21 per cent quotas for the politically influential Maratha community and Muslims cleared by the Cabinet, reservation in jobs and educational institutions in Maharashtra will go up to 73 per cent.

“Maratha community is being treated as educationally and socially backward and 16 per cent quota has been fixed for them. The quota for Muslims is not religion-based but on the criterion of social and economic backwardness,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

He said the provision would come into effect “immediately” and would not impinge upon the existing 52 per cent quotas for various other sections.


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