Reservation row: Marathas set to take to the streets again in Maharashtra

HT Image
HT Image
Published on Sep 26, 2020 12:47 AM IST
Copy Link

Four years after the rape and murder of a girl from the community spurred Maratha protests in Maharashtra, leading to a separate quota for the dominant caste, it is yesterday once more in the state. Upset with the apex court’s interim stay on their reservation in education and jobs, the Maratha community has decided to take to the streets once again to protest the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government’s “apathy” in handling the litigation.

In phase one, the silent Maratha morchas led by lakhs of members took the previous Fadnavis government by a storm. The Maratha protests 2.0 could similarly spook the Thackeray-led government, which is already battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2016 protests had culminated in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government passing a Maratha reservation bill in 2018, promising the community 16% reservation in jobs and education. The Bombay high court had upheld the state law, but sought a reduction in the quota to 12% and 13%, in jobs and education, respectively. Earlier this month, this quota was stayed just as admissions to colleges were being carried out, even as the petition was forwarded to a larger constitutional bench.

Maratha community leaders have blamed the Thackeray-led government for not being alert enough to avoid the interim stay. They also suspect and claim the state government versus the Centre tussle has led to this legal face-off. “The community is angry. This government was not alert enough. To add to this, within two days, they announced the recruitment of 12,000 police constabulary. What message does that send to our community? The state education minister did not even wait for the written judgment and stayed the entire admission process following TV announcements,” said Virendra Pawar, a Maratha leader.

Pawar also blamed the Central government versus MVA face-off indirectly. “They (the MVA) should take the BJP into confidence and ensure the stay on our reservation is vacated. The other promises made by them post the stay, including granting the community reservation within EWS, are problematic and not legally tenable,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Maratha Kranti Morcha, umbrella organisation, which had led the protests earlier, is back in action. So far, decentralised small protests have been held across the state, including in Mumbai. On September 27, a mega protest, ‘Akrosh Andolan’, has been planned in Pune, where the community will protest outside homes of politicians across parties. The community has also threatened a state-wide agitation on October 10, if its various demands, including a stay on all recruitments and completing admissions of students already granted seats, are not fulfilled.

Plans to protest have not been called off, despite a plea by Thackeray to avoid demonstrations during the pandemic. State public works minister Ashok Chavan, who also heads a ministerial sub-committee on Maratha reservation, said, “We are going to safeguard the interests of the Maratha community even while we abide by the apex court. We will accommodate them within 10% EWS quota. At the same time, we have moved for revocation of the stay by the apex court. We are also making sure various existing provisions for the community such as scholarships for higher education and seed money for Maratha entrepreneurs are strengthened.”

Maratha youngsters are, however, not placated. Pooja Zole, a young Maratha activist with Maratha Kranti Morcha, said youngsters feel the community is being betrayed again. “Our community protests have been going on for 30 years. In 2014, too, we were given reservation, which got stayed. Now, just as admissions are in progress, an interim stay has been imposed. We feel our community is used for politics of vote,” said Zole.

She said the community did not care about politics and would target all who made irresponsible statements against Maratha reservation.

While the BJP has said it is with the government on the issue of Maratha reservation, the state unit of the party has not held back from blaming the MVA for the current scenario.

Chandrakant Patil, state president of BJP, said, “We brought out a reservation bill for the community, which was endorsed by the HC. But this Aghadi failed to represent even that bill properly in the SC.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ketaki Ghoge is an associate editor with Hindustan Times. Based in Mumbai, she covers politics and governance in Maharashtra. Journalist for the last 13 years, Ketaki enjoys dicing government policies, administration and analysing politics of the day.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel addresses a joint session of both Houses of the state during the Budget session of UP Assembly, at Vidhan Bhawan in Lucknow, Monday. (PTI Photo)

    4.5 lakh govt jobs provided to youth in UP in 5 years: Guv

    LUCKNOW Governor Anandiben Patel on Monday stated that 1.61 crore youth had been provided employment in the private sector through private investment while 60 lakh youth were linked to self-employment in Uttar Pradesh. “In the last five years, 4.5 lakh government jobs have been provided to the youth in UP by adopting a fair and transparent recruitment process,” she stated in her address to the joint sitting of both the houses of state legislature.

  • Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrives to attend the first session of the 18th UP Assembly, at Vidhan Bhawan, in Lucknow on Monday. (ANI Photo)

    Govt ready for debate on any issue, says UP CM

    LUCKNOW Chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said his government was ready for a debate and reply on any issues related to development, the poor, farmers, youths and women, in the state assembly. Adityanath said he hoped that the members would get some guidance from the governor's address to the two houses of state legislature and the debate over his government's achievements and its future plans.

  • Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu comes out after his medical examination at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala Monday. (PTI)

    Medical board examines Sidhu, recommends special diet in jail

    Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is currently lodged in the Patiala central jail in a 1988 road rage case, was taken to Rajindra Hospital in the city on Monday for medical examination after his counsel moved an application demanding special diet for him. According to sources at Rajindra Hospital, Sidhu has been recommended a high-fibre and low-fat diet, which includes fruits, and boiled vegetables.

  • Commuters to get free rides on e-buses for 3 days from May 24.

    Delhiites can enjoy free electric bus rides for three days, says Kejriwal govt

    Delhiites will get free rides for three days on 150 electric buses that will be flagged off by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday. "Happy & free travel for 3 days from Delhi Govt's end to Delhiites in the "150 electric buses" to be flagged off tomorrow, 24/5/2022 by honourable chief minister," read a tweet from the official handle of the city government. Individuals are also applying for e-charging points.

  • MSHRC to BMC chief: Explain delay in clearing slums near Eastern Freeway

    MSHRC to BMC chief: Explain delay in clearing slums near Eastern Freeway

    Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has issued a show cause notice to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Monday, asking him to explain how unauthorised slums came up at the spot, causing a bottleneck and stopping motorists from accessing the Eastern Freeway at Panjrapole Naka, Chembur. MSHRC asked why remedial measures were not taken in time even after the area was handed over to the civic body in 2015.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 23, 2022