Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde expressed displeasure over contradictory statements made by his cabinet colleagues on Maratha reservation and urged them to exercise caution on the emotive issue.

Shinde made his displeasure known to his ministerial colleagues while presiding over a state cabinet meeting in Mumbai, PTI reported quoting sources.

The issue of Maratha quota, which saw activist Manoj Jarange undertaking a nine-day fast and setting December 24 deadline for its resolution, and the political fallout of the reservation agitation, was discussed at the meeting.

In the meeting, food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a prominent OBC leader, said the government needs to ensure that bogus Kunbi caste certificates are not distributed to those seeking reservation under the other backward classes category, according to the sources.

They said Shinde expressed displeasure over contradictory comments made by ministers on the Maratha reservation issue and cautioned nothing should be said that could fuel tension.

Bhujbal, an NCP (Ajit Pawar faction) leader, on Monday said “backdoor” attempts to grant reservation to the Maratha community under the OBC category will be opposed.

He said violence and pressure tactics on the quota issue will not be tolerated

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The Maharashtra government has expanded the scope of the Justice (retd) Sandip Shinde Committee formed to study the feasibility of giving Kunbi certificates to Maratha community members in view of the protests spearheaded by Jarange.

Among the demands of Jarange is that Marathas be given Kunbi certificates so that they can get reservation in education and government jobs under the OBC category. Kunbis are recognised as an OBC community in Maharashtra, where they enjoy quota benefits. (With inputs from PTI)

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Government Wednesday set up an advisory board headed by retired justice Dilip Bhosale for extending legal assistance on the issues related to Maratha quota.

Other members of the board are retired justices Maroti Gaikwad and Sandeep Shinde, said a statement from Chief Minister Eknath Shinde`s office.

While the Maratha community`s demand for reservations in government jobs and educational admissions came to the fore once again recently with activist Manoj Jarange`s hunger strike, the Supreme Court had earlier set aside the quota granted to the community by the state government. (With inputs from PTI)

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