Jarange to resume Maratha quota protest on Lok Sabha result day

Mumbai: Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil on Tuesday announced to resume a hunger strike from June 4, the day of Lok Sabha election results, for reservation of Maratha community under the OBC quota. The Maratha activist will also hold a massive public rally on June 8. Jarange-Patil’s announcement comes a week before voting for 11 Lok Sabha seats.

The quota activist also warned the state government that if an ordinance is not promulgated in connection with provide Kunbi certificates to eligible Marathas and their “sage soyre (blood relatives)”, he would be left with no option but to contest upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election in mid of October 2024. Kunbi caste certificates will automatically make Marathas eligible for OBC reservation.

The ruling parties in Maharashtra are already facing Maratha backlash in the Marathwada region, which is an epicenter of Jarange-Patil’s agitation. The region had seen violent protests and arson eight months ago. Senior Maratha leaders like Ashok Chavan were stopped during their election campaigns.

Mr. Jarange Patil said that the Maratha community would not benefit from the 10 per cent reservation, which was provided by the incumbent government.

In February 2024, the Eknath Shinde government had passed the Maratha Quota Bill, which intended to give a 10 per cent quota to members of Maratha communities in education and jobs The separate reservation breaches 50 per cent cap decided by the Supreme Court, therefore the protestors are of the opinion that it will not survive after legal scrutiny.

Mr Jarange-Patil said that this battle is to give justice to the Maratha community. “I will be going on an indefinite hunger strike at Antarwali-Saraati village in Jalna district from June 4. All political parties have leaders from the Maratha community. The state government’s 10 per cent reservation will not help the community. This has also affected the poor Maratha youth, who are followers of the BJP. The reservation is yet to be implemented,” he said.

The activist further said that if the government did not pay heed to his demand, he would be left with no option but to join politics. “I want to tell Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis that give us reservation (under OBC quota) and withdraw the cases from the members of the Maratha community as promised to us. We don’t want to join politics. But if you fail to fulfill the promises, we will field our candidates on all 288 seats of Maharashtra Assembly,” he said.

In the span of eight months, Mr Jarange-Patil had gone on hunger strikes four times. He has been demanding quota in admissions to educational institutions and government jobs for the Marathas under the OBC category.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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