The Maratha march slated to be held in Mumbai on January 31 has been postponed to March 6, amid differences among its leaders over the anticipated response to the protest. The march will now be held on the first day of the state legislature’s budget session. The organisers said they will hold statewide road blockades seeking that the community’s pending demands be addressed.
The Marathas were divided over the announcement of January 31 march. The differences among the organisers were evident during a meeting held at Wadala on Sunday to chalk out the community’s strategy. During the six-hour meeting, representatives of various Maratha organisations from various districts said it was difficult to organise the rally on the scheduled date. They also expressed apprehension over the dismal response — similar to the response to the Nagpur rally held in December — owing to the poll code of conduct.
Organisers said those affiliated to various political parties would not be able to participate as they would be busy preparing for the civic polls. The district representatives said it would be difficult to mobilise resources for the march, which was expected to be the largest of the protests held so far.
Owing to the code of conduct, it would be impossible for the government to make a firm commitment to the rally, which could lead to its failure. The recent Supreme Court order about not soliciting votes in the name of religion and caste also could pose a difficulty for some participants, said representatives.
“We discussed various difficulties in holding the rally on January 31. Almost all the districts insisted on the date being postponed. The decision to postpone the rally was taken unanimously. The route and the timings will be decided over the next few days,” said Narendra Patil, MLA and a Maratha leader.
Mansing Pawar, one of the key organisers of protest rallies, said the decision was taken after much deliberation. “When local volunteers brought practical difficulties to our notice, we decided to postpone the rally. We will now be able to put up a huge show in Mumbai,” he said.
To keep the momentum going, the organisers will hold road blockades in every district.