Will intensify stir if Maratha quota is not announced by October 24, says activist Jarange Patil

Will intensify stir if Maratha quota is not announced by October 24, says activist Jarange Patil

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on Saturday threatened to intensify his agitation after October 24 if the Maharashtra government fails to provide reservation to the community in jobs and education.

Addressing a massive gathering at Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district, he said that after October 24, it would be either his “funeral procession or the Maratha community’s victory celebration”.

The Jalna-based activist recently undertook an indefinite hunger strike on the issue and called it off after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde promised to fulfil all demands. Prominent among his demands is grant of Kunbi OBC status to all Marathas, so that they can avail the benefits presently enjoyed by the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

He started a tour of 13 districts earlier this month from Antarwali Sarathi and completed it on Saturday, followed by a mega public rally.

The activist had set a 40-day deadline for the Shinde government to take steps to implement reservation for the community. On Saturday, he reminded the State government about the deadline (which ends on October 24).

Plea to maintain peace

The 40-year-old activist said he would address the community on October 22 to explain the course of action after October 24 if the demand is not fulfilled. He also asked his supporters to maintain peace during protests.

Mr. Patil criticised the State Minister and NCP (Ajit Pawar faction) leader, Chhagan Bhujbal, alleging that he falsely claimed that ₹7 crore had been collected for Saturday’s protest. He said that it was only the Maratha community that supported and managed to gather just ₹21 lakh for the programme.

He further accused Mr. Bhujbal, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and advocate Gunratan Sadavarte of attempting to stoke divisions within the Maratha community. He urged the community members to stand united and resist such divisive tactics.

Mr. Patil urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to have a discussion with Mr. Fadnavis to sensitise him to the issue.

Mr. Patil reported that his Facebook account had been inaccessible for two hours, hinting at a possible restriction on his online presence.

Accusing the Maharashtra government of not conducting a survey to facilitate Maratha reservation, he said the government should consider raising the quota ceiling beyond 50% to accommodate reservation for Marathas, while ensuring legal validity.

The government should recognise the significant role of Marathas as a farming community and their crucial contributions in providing essential foodgrains, he said. “Despite their crucial role, the community feels marginalised and excluded from the benefits of reservation,” he said.

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