In a major move to woo a minority community before the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday said that the state government was considering providing reservations to Muslims in education and jobs.
Pawar said that along with Marathas, the state government is also looking into providing reservations for Muslims as they are also backward. He said reservation could be provided for them in areas such as education and jobs
Responding to a question on the committee appointed to look into Maratha reservations, which is headed by industry minister Narayan Rane, Pawar said that a decision on Maratha reservations would be announced after hearing all sides.
Pointing out that there is opposition to providing reservations for Marathas from certain sections, Pawar made it clear that reservations will not be provided to them or Muslims in areas such as politics and that the government will not touch the existing 52 per cent reservations for OBCs and other categories.
Earlier, the Mehmood-ur-Rahman committee had recommended that reservations should be given to Muslims in the range of 8% to 10% in education and jobs in the state. The panel, which was set up by the state government in 2008 to study the economic and social backwardness among the community, submitted its report in October. Muslim leaders of the Congress had pitchforked the demand in the cabinet and wanted the state to make an announcement granting reservations for Muslims before the elections.
The deputy chief minister said that a decision on reducing the electricity tariff would be taken by next week. He pointed out that the reduction would involve financial burden for the state government and the state would have to give subsidies as the electricity tariffs are decided by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission. “We will have to decide on how much financial burden the state can bear and work out rates for various categories like farmers. It will also have to be worked out after considering the rates in other states,” said Pawar.