Playing the quota card in the countdown to the Assembly polls, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in Maharashtra cleared 16 per cent reservation for the powerful Maratha community and 5 per cent reservation for Muslims. The decision was taken by the State Cabinet on Wednesday.

The State currently has 52 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. This decision will raise the quota limit to 73 per cent.

The Supreme Court had earlier capped quotas at 50 per cent.

Politically motivated, says Opposition

The Opposition has termed the decision politically motivated and said it will not stand legal scrutiny. “The quotas will be part of a new ‘socially and educationally backward’ category. We have taken the decision after surveys to establish the backwardness within the communities, so we expect it to stand legal scrutiny,” said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.