The Shiv Sena on Friday came out in support of the demand that the Maratha community be included in the Other Backward Classes category.
The Marathas are considered to be the 'ruling caste' of the state, yet a demand for inclusion in OBCs has been gaining strength of late.
The Sena newspaper Saamna in Friday's editorial said, "As there are super-rich Marathas, there are also those who are driven to suicide because of the poverty. Sena has always been of the view that the poor from all communities should get benefit of reservations."
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had recently assured a section of Maratha leaders that their demand would be dealt sympathetically.
Referring to Nationalist Congress Party leader Arun Gujarathi's recent statement that the, "poor among the Marathas should be included in OBC category," Sena said, "There need not be two opinions on this."
However, the editorial cautions that the issue of granting OBC status to Marathas should not divide the state.
"The Mali community has already opposed inclusion of Marathas in OBCs. In Rajasthan, the state was on the boil due to the Meena-Gujjar strife. It should not be re-enacted in Maharashtra," it said.
The editorial also states that while the Kunbi community is part of the Marathas, it has been granted OBC status, but the Marathas have been kept out of the reservation net.
The edit refers to the stated position of Sunil Pawar, a leader of the Maratha Mahasangh, that reservations should be on basis of financial condition, not caste.
"This position is important from the viewpoint of maintaining solidarity of Maharashtrian society," the editorial said.