MNS chief’s take: 80-90 pc quota for locals, on basis of economic status

The MNS chief, who was addressing a party workers’ rally in Pune on Friday, also accused political parties, which were demanding reservation on the basis of caste or religion, of “lying”.

Striking a different tone on the reservation issue, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Friday said quotas should be given on the basis of the economic status of the individual, not on caste or religious lines, and locals should be given priority in government jobs and education. He also urged local youths “not to fall into the trap of political parties which only use citizens for votes”.

The MNS chief, who was addressing a party workers’ rally in Pune on Friday, also accused political parties, which were demanding reservation on the basis of caste or religion, of “lying”. “They are only trying to play with the sentiments of the public to seek votes. It is the public which is the victim of such confrontations and citizens don’t get anything out of it,” he said.

“There should not be any more deaths like that of Kakasaheb Shinde, who died by jumping into the river while participating in the protest to seek reservation for the Maratha community. At least not for these politicians,” Thackeray said.

“Under the present circumstances, children are talking about caste and religion. Friends from different communities have stopped seeing eye to eye. This is the condition those in power have put the state in,” he said.

Thackeray urged youths to be alert and educate their close ones, so that the latter “don’t get carried away with the strategies of the political parties on reservation”. “If 80 to 90 per cent reservation in educational institutes and jobs in the private sector are given to locals, there will be no need of reservation for members of any community. But no political party wants to do that in the state,” he said.

Thackeray said no political party was “presenting the true picture of the state and the country”. He also seemed to bat for reservation in the private sector, saying, “The government admits that jobs in the private sector are increasing but those in government offices are decreasing. If reservation is restricted to government institutes and organisations, then how are youths going to benefit?”

Continuing his attack on “outsiders”, Thackeray said they were “looting the state”, while “locals were engaged in confrontations on the basis of caste and religion”. “Ours is a cultural state, with a rich tradition of many years. It should not be turned into other states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand,” he said.

“In Maharashtra, the industrial sector is growing but no one knows where the jobs are going…. The fact is people from other states get jobs in the private sector in Maharashtra, while the locals are not even made aware of them. Similarly, it is due to the influx of a large number of students from other states that local students fail to get entry into educational institutes… in the state,” said Thackeray.

He said state minister Chandrakant Patil, who is from the BJP, had been “aggressive” while demanding reservation for the Maratha community when his party was in the opposition. But the BJP had failed to introduce reservation despite being in power for four years, said Thackeray.

Thackeray also took objection to some leaders and organisations “forcing their demands on those from other religions”.

“Those issuing diktats on certain issues, like eating meat, should stop. Everyone should follow their religion within their own premises and should not bring it out in open. I am also against the use of loudspeakers in mosques. Prayers should be held at the home or religious places, not on public roads. If every community handles their religious activities properly, there will not be any confrontation,” said Thackeray.

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