Maratha quota issue dominates Modi-Uddhav meet

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Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray (L) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Image credit: DNA India)
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray (L) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Image credit: DNA India)

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with his deputy Ajit Pawar and another senior minister in his cabinet Ashok Chavan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi at around mid-noon on Tuesday (June 8).

This was the second meeting between Uddhav and PM ever since the former became the chief minister of Maharashtra in November 2019 after the Shiv Sena broke its over 35-year long relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Among other things the issue of Maratha reservation, the recent Cyclone Tauktae, GST and vaccination reportedly figured in the meeting.

According to reports, later Uddhav had a 10-minute long meeting with PM. Political circles are attaching importance to this one-to-one get together between the two.  

Analysts are looking at this development with two angles. While one view is that Uddhav is a bit upset over the way Modi rushed to Gujarat after the cyclone and announced help for it ignoring other states equally devastated by the natural calamity, especially Maharashtra.

However, the other opinion is that the ties between the BJP and Shiv Sena may improve as recently Modi had praised the way Uddhav had tackled the second wave of corona virus.

There is another angle to the meeting. Following the Supreme Court ruling Uddhav wants that the Centre make amendments in the OBC quota and include Marathas in the list of socially and educationally backward castes. The state government also wants that a review petition should be filed in the Supreme Court requesting the apex court to refer the matter to a larger bench.  

Besides, the Uddhav government wants that the Centre make a Constitution Amendment and the cap of 50 per cent reservation should be lifted. After the meeting, Uddhav told media persons that he raised the issue of Maratha reservation and GST with the Prime Minister.

It needs to be mentioned that the Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar too had a meeting with Uddhav on the issue of the Supreme Court verdict quashing the Maratha reservation.

As there is near unanimity among the political parties over the reservation to Marathas who form a solid vote bank in Maharashtra, some decision is likely to come out soon.

It needs to be mentioned that on November 18, 2018, the then Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who was heading the BJP-Shiv Sena government announced reservation for Marathas following the recommendations made by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, which submitted its report on the social and economic conditions of the Maratha community.

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