Mumbai: Amid campaign by Marathas across Maharashtra for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, the ruling BJP on Thursday said it was committed to meeting the demand of the community without upsetting the existing other backward class (OBC) quota.

A resolution seeking to provide reservation to the Maratha community was adopted on the second day of the party’s state executive meeting in Mumbai. The resolution, moved by revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, was adopted, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Raosaheb Danve told reporters after the meeting.

“BJP will provide 16% reservation to Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions," Danve said.

Asked about reservation for Muslims, he said there is no provision for quota on the basis of religion.

During the meeting, opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were criticized for “ignoring" Maratha community after using it as their vote bank for years.

Promising that it would stand up to address grievances and demands raised by the community, BJP blamed Congress and NCP leadership for the situation in which the Maratha community finds itself. The resolution noted that the leadership of both the parties (Congress and NCP) had used the community as a vote bank.

Before the 2014 state Assembly elections, the then Congress-NCP dispensation had approved 16% reservation for Marathas and five percent for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions. The decision, however, was challenged in the court, where it is pending.

Also read: Maharashtra govt to make a strong case for Maratha reservation in Bombay HC

The “silent marches" taken out by the Maratha Kranti Morcha around Maharashtra to highlight their demands have elicited huge response, creating ripples in state politics. According to observers, all main parties—BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP—are unnerved by the turnout at the rallies, highlighting demands like reservation in job and educational institutions, though the immediate trigger being the rape and murder of a girl from the community at Kopardi in Ahmednagar.

More than 20 rallies have already taken place across the state over the last one-and-a-half months. Danve had on Wednesday said that a resolution supporting the demand of Maratha reservations would be discussed and adopted at the state executive meeting. He had rejected the allegation of Congress and NCP that the BJP government could not present its stand on the Maratha quota before the High Court adequately.

The previous Congress-NCP government issued the ordinance giving reservations to Marathas and Muslims with an eye on the assembly polls, and that was the reason the ordinance did not stand up to the court’s scrutiny, Danve had said.

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