Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Maharashtra Legislative Council on Thursday over the opposition's demand for reservation to the Dhangar (shepherd) community, prompting the chairman to adjourn the House for the day. When the House met in the morning, Congress MLC Ramhari Rupnavar accused the BJP-led state government of not pursuing the Dhangar quota issue with the Centre.
He criticised the state and central governments for not providing reservation to the community, which is recognised as another backward class (OBC) while applying for central government jobs. In Maharashtra, the community is recognised as a nomadic tribe and constitutionally it falls under Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, he said, adding that this leads to administrative complications.
Another Congress legislator Bhai Jagtap then got up and said, "It seems like someone has a monopoly over the quota issue. The present government has taken more than enough time, but not taken any steps to provide reservation to the community." Jagtap's comments irked some BJP members, including Bhai Girkar, Praveen Darekar and state minister Vinod Tawde, who stood up to raise their voice. "Jagtap has no business to make such comments. Our government has made several provisions and offered facilities, but still unparliamentary words are used against our government. These remarks should be expunged," Girkar said.
Amid the chaos, Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar initially adjourned the House twice for 10 minutes each and then for an hour. However, as both the ruling and opposition members continued to argue and shout slogans against each other, the chairman then adjourned the House for the day.
Later outside the House, the opposition lawmakers accused the state government of not wanting to grant quota to the Dhangar community. Addressing reporters in the Vidhan Bhawan premises, Leader of Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde labelled the government as "anti-Dhangar".
"We were expecting an answer from the government on when it will grant reservation to the community. But the ruling parties' members created chaos in the House when the opposition members who are seeking quota for the community spoke," he said. "This means the government doesn't want to give quota to the Dhangar community," he said.
Munde, who was flanked by Congress MLC Arun Jagtap, also asked the government why the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' (TISS) report on Dhangar quota was not tabled in the state Assembly and the Council. "Both the Houses should know whether TISS recommends giving quota to the community or not. The Dhangar community must know this," Munde added.
He further alleged that the government showed "carrot" to the community by making Rs 1,000-crore budgetary provisions for its welfare, but doesn't want to grant reservation. "This shows the government has hoodwinked the community on the issue. This is an anti-Dhangar government. It wants to dodge the issue," Munde alleged.
He further accused the government of trying to stifle the opposition's voice on the issue.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)