Community meets ahead of polls
As winter entering its final phase for the last chilling effect, the socio-political issues ahead of Lok Sabha polls have begun to hot up the state's atmosphere, reports Yogesh Joshi.india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 16:53 IST
As winter entering its final phase for the last chilling effect, the socio-political issues ahead of Lok Sabha polls have begun to hot up the state's atmosphere.
To stimulate the atmosphere further, the state is going to witness three separate meets by communities including Maratha, Other Backward Caste (OBC) and Brahmins in the next fortnight. In Maharashtra's 10 crore population, the Maratha's have share of around 20 % while OBCs add up 35 % and Brahmins contribute 4 %.
The OBC meet to be held in Pune on Wednesday is to chalk-out plans on how to tackle demand being pressed by politically predominant Maratha community. Leaders and representative of several castes included in OBC category are expected to attend the meet.
In Mumbai, several pro-Maratha organizations that are gathering support for their demand of inclusion of OBC category for getting benefit of quota for the community are to meet on February 1. The meet is expected to discuss how to increase pressure on government for getting the demand sanctioned especially before code of conduct comes in place before April general elections.
Another community meet is two-day-long all India level Brahmins convention to be held in Pune from January 24. While the gathering does not have any specific agenda as such, the hitherto inactive Brahmins including all its sub-castes from across the country are expected to meet mainly to showcase their strength.
Brahmins, who were a part of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's 'social engineering' experiment are expected to repeat similar experiment with leaders of non-Brahmin communities have also been invited to the grand event.
According to Moreshwar Ghaisas, working president of convention, "Satish Misra, the man behind Mayawati and an architect of UP's 'social engineering' will be felicitated in the meet. A resolution for appealing Brahmins to vote for favourable candidate and party will be moved in the convention, which has invited political leaders including Maratha warlord Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, Delhi and Goa's CM Sheila Dixit and Digambar Kamat respectively".
The convention, which is expected to see participation of more than two-lakh Brahmins, will be held on grand scale with 175-acre venue at Bhugaon near Pune.
While Wednesday's OBC meet is focused on community's next course of action to tackle the reservation demand by Maratha community, the most prominent OBC leader from the state Chhagan Bhujbal is staying away from it. "Now that Bhujbal has become deputy chief minister in the state cabinet, it is somewhat inconvenient for him to attend such meet, which is more of socio-political", said another prominent OBC leader, who is actively involved in the meet.
Krishnakant Kudale, president, OBC Sangharsha Committee and close aid of Bhujbal, said, "there is some apprehension about Maratha reservation demand among the OBC communities. From the beginning we have taken stand that existing OBC category should not be touched in any case. We are going to discuss the issue further in the meet".
The organizer of the OBC meet Dada Shinde said, "There are around 364 castes in OBC category who want to share their thoughts on the issue of Maratha demand for reservation. We want to hear all of them and decide next course of action".
Vinayak Mete, pro-Maratha leader and president of Shiv-Sangram outfit, said, "for the February 1 meet at Shivaji park, we have invited presidents of all major parties in the state to clear their stand on Maratha community's demand for reservation. We meet will discuss how to take ahead our demand especially for putting more pressure on government".