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Maratha quota: Maharashtra to continue legal battle till Maratha quota allowed: CM Uddhav Thackeray


Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while addressing the state on Sunday, tried to assuage the sentiments of the influential Maratha community, which has been hurt by the Supreme Court judgement staying the Maratha quota and said the state would continue with its legal battle till the quota is allowed. He also described the recent Kangana Ranaut episode and its subsequent ramifications as a conspiracy to defame the state.

“We have started unlock again. Some people (read BJP) feel that the beginning of unlock means that they could start their politics again. There is politics being done and a conspiracy to defame the state. I will (soon) remove the chief minister’s mask and speak to you. It’s not that I don’t have answers. However, there is work to be done,” he said in an indirect reference to the Kangana case.

The chief minister, while expressing surprise on the recent Supreme Court judgement to put a stay on the Maratha quota, said: “We had been arguing in the Supreme Court that this needs to be looked into by a larger bench. The court agreed to it and I am thankful to them. However, while agreeing to it, they unexpectedly put a stay order on the reservation that we have given.”

Aware that there has been criticism from the Maratha community that the Mahavikas Aghadi did not take the Maratha quota issue seriously and did not bring in better lawyers to argue the case, Uddhav said, “We are fighting the case in the SC with the same set of lawyers that were appointed by the earlier government (BJP-Sena government). We have appointed more lawyers to assist them. We have argued vociferously in court for the Maratha quota.”

Uddhav assured the Maratha community that the state government was with it and would be fighting the battle to ensure that they get the quota. Uddhav’s assurance comes even as stray incidents of violence were reported in some parts of the state by the community against the verdict.

Following statements by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there was a fear that the Covid-19 pandemic might take a more frightening course, the chief minister exhorted citizens to strictly follow the guidelines laid down by the state so that lockdown measures don’t have to be reimposed.

“I have not opened up (the state) completely. The virus is increasing. We are expecting that if people follow all these precautions, then we don’t want to put the state under a lockdown again,” the CM said. He said there was a shortage of oxygen cylinders, but there was ample oxygen supply. He hinted that restaurants and gyms may soon be allowed to reopen if the establishments agree on complying with the state’s guidelines.

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