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‘We’ll do to you in Maharashtra what Patidars did in Gujarat’

Maratha outfits angry at govt inaction, set to relaunch agitation on birth anniversary of Shivaji

mumbai Updated: Dec 26, 2017 14:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Maratha agitation,Maratha,Shivaji
After a series of agitations last year that culminated in August, the government had promised to address the Maratha community’s demands (see box) within four months. That deadline has elapsed with no action on the ground. (Bhushan Koyande / HT Photo)

Mumbai: Angry over the government’s failure to respond to their demands, Maratha community outfits have announced that they will restart their agitation, this time on the birth anniversary of Maratha warrior-king Shivaji, on February 19.

Drawing inspiration from the successful Patidar agitation in Gujarat, the community has warned that it will resort to similar methods to showcase its strength ahead of the 2019 Maharashtra state election.

The outfits had a slew of demands, including reservations in government jobs and institutes of higher education.

In a state-level meeting held in Panvel on Monday, community leaders decided to name their new agitation ‘19 se 2019 tak’ – from Shivaji’s birth anniversary to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2019.

The government has failed to fulfil its promise to meet the community’s demands within four months, the leaders added, referring to the resolution that had been reached after a series of protests across the state culminated in a massive silent march on August 9.

  • Reservation as part of the Other Backward Class category in government jobs and institutes of higher education
  • Strengthening of the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation (APFBDC), which was launched a year ago by the PM but still doesn’t have a president
  • Hostels for economically backward students.

“There is anger among community members as the government has failed to understand the sentiments of the community that held 58 silent marches across the state,” said Virendra Pawar, one of the conveners of the morchas. “We have decided to adopt different forms of agitation, by moving on from silent marches, if our demands are not met by February 10. Patidars have shown their strength in the Assembly elections in Gujarat. We are a much bigger community by comparison and are all set to showcase our power.”

The government had announced that it would include 605 courses in scholarship schemes for the economically backward classes, but has dropped medical courses from this list, Pawar added.

“Not a single hostel has been approved for Marathas, even after the announcement of hostels in our districts. A year after the launch of a financially backward development corporation by the prime minister, a president has still not been appointed. The government has also failed to make the State Backward Class Commission submit its report, which is needed if there are to be reservations in due time,” Pawar said.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 14:37 IST