Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who has accused the state government of facilitating the backdoor entry of the Maratha community into the OBC quota, on Saturday disclosed that he had tendered his resignation from the state cabinet last November.
Addressing a rally, Mr Bhujbal, who belongs to the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the NCP, reiterated that he was not opposed to Marathas getting the reservation but is against sharing the existing OBC quota.
“Many leaders from the Opposition, even leaders from my government say that I should resign. Someone said Bhujbal should be sacked from the Cabinet.
“I want to tell leaders from the Opposition, government, and my party that ahead of the OBC Elgar rally held in Ambad on November 17, I resigned from the cabinet on November 16 and then went to attend that event,” he said.
Mr Bhujbal further said he kept quiet for more than two months because the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister asked him not to speak about it.
“There is no need for sacking. I have tendered my resignation. I will fight for the OBC till the end,” the senior Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader added.
Mr Bhujbal’s remarks come against the backdrop of demand from some sections demanding his resignation as Food and Civil Supplies minister as he has been criticising the state government over its handling of Maratha quota demand.
He had accused the government of pandering to the demands of Maratha quota leader Manoj Jarange.
A Shiv Sena MLA from the Eknath Shinde camp had said that Mr Bhujbal should be sacked for trying to create a rift in society.
“We do not oppose the reservation to the Maratha community, but give it to them separately. Do not give it under our (OBC) quota. But they (Manoj Jarange) say give it from the OBC quota,” Mr Bhujbal added.
He alleged the process of gathering data to determine the Maratha community’s backwardness through a survey by the state backward classes commission is flawed.
“While OBCs constitute 54-60% of the state population, SC/STs 20%, and Brahmins 3%, yet all MLAs and MPs are scared of losing Maratha votes,” he said.
Mr Bhujbal claimed OBC MLAs don’t even help in funding rallies let alone participating.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)