NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal calls for stay on Kunbi caste certificates for Marathas

Mr. Bhujbal, who has been vocal about his opposition to Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil, also wants the Justice Shinde Committee that is looking into the reservation demand to be dismissed

November 27, 2023 10:13 pm | Updated 10:13 pm IST - MUMBAI

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal. | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and prominent OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal on November 27 urged a halt on the issuance of Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas following their recent agitation for reservation and scrapping of the Justice (retired) Sandeep Shinde committee formed over the quota issue.

‘Against filing fake papers’

While expressing no opposition to a separate reservation for Marathas, Mr. Bhujbal, a senior leader in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, raised concerns about the alleged practice of obtaining Kunbi certificates through the submission of fake documents. “I am not against a separate reservation for Marathas, but strongly oppose the ongoing practice of obtaining Kunbi certificates by submitting fake or forged documents,” he said.

Kunbis, associated with agriculture, are categorised under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in Maharashtra. The Eknath Shinde-led government had set up the five-member panel headed by Justice Shinde to decide the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for giving Kunbi certificates to members of the Maratha community who (or whose ancestors) were referred to as Kunbis in Nizam-era documents.

A recent government order (G.O.) instructed officials to issue fresh Kunbi certificates to eligible Maratha community members, facilitating their access to reservation benefits under the OBC category.

‘Don’t disturb prevailing quota’

Mr. Bhujbal stressed that existing reservations for OBCs should not be reduced when extending reservations to Marathas and highlighted that the committee found sufficient proof in the Marathwada region and only eligible people should get the certificates. “Its (Shinde Committee) work is done. Now, it should be discontinued,” he said, adding that a comparative study should be carried out of all communities.

Meanwhile, a Maratha outfit member, Dhananjay Jadhav, on Monday sneaked into a government guest house in Pune where Mr. Bhujbal was staying and raised slogans near the Minister’s car saying he should not oppose the community’s agitation for reservation.

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