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CHAGGAN BHUJBAL WARNS HIS OWN GOVERNMENT AGAINST MEDDLING WITH OBC QUOTA

bhujbal-1Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal has issued a veiled threat to top Maratha leadership in the ruling Congress-NCP combine against betraying the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) on reservation policy. The podium boasted of the who’s who of Maratha leadership in the state – Sharad Pawar, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, RR Patil, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh – but Bhujbal could not care less. He stated that the OBCs are faced with the threat of the recent growing demand among Marathas for reservation and warned that not even 1% of the quota enshrined by the Indian Constitution for the OBCs should be compromised. The Congress-NCP leaders may well have to take a categorical stand on whether to go ahead with Maratha reservation which constitute 35% vote bank, thereby alienating the 27% OBCs in the state. Strategically, wooing Bhujbal also helps the ruling combine to ward off the BSP’s growing political clout in Maharashtra ahead of next year’s assembly and Lok Sabha elections. However, Pawar who remains the unchallenged Maratha leader will have to do a tightrope walk to ensure he does not disenchant the powerful Maratha lobby. Bureau report NMTV

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