Ahmedabad: The Patidar community in Gujarat can not be included in Other Backward Classes (OBC) but they can be given reservation in a separate category, Union social justice minister Ramdas Athawale said here on Saturday.
“My opinion is that they cannot be included in the OBC category, but they can be given reservation under a separate category,” he said, speaking to reporters.
In 2015, Gujarat was rocked by widespread protests by the Patidar community which has been demanding quota in government jobs and education. Ahead of Assembly elections which are due next year, the two main sub-castes of the community recently announced that they were joining hands.
“From the outset we have been demanding a law to give reservation to Marathas in Maharashtra, Patidars in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and Rajputs in Rajasthan, provided the beneficiary’s (annual) income is under Rs 8 lakh,” Athawale said.
The Union government’s decision to amend Article 342 (A) of the Constitution to restore the power of states to identify Socially and Economically Backward Classes will help Marathas and Patidars get reservation, he said.
He also sought to dismiss “rumours” that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi planned to “change the Constitution”. The prime minister supports reservations and his government provided 10 percent Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota to those from the general category, Athawale said.