News Brief

Maratha Reservation Activist Manoj Jarange Patil Begins Fast Unto Death, Says Will Contest Assembly Elections If Demand Not Met

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 08, 2024, 03:45 PM | Updated 03:45 PM IST

Maratha Quota Activist Manoj Jarange Patil
Maratha Quota Activist Manoj Jarange Patil

Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil has begun his fast unto death on Saturday (8 June).

The police have not permitted him to fast, according to officials cited in an ANI report.

According to news agency ANI, Jarange Patil stated that if the Maratha reservation is not granted this time, he will contest the Maharashtra Assembly Elections that are likely to be held in October this year.

Jarange Patil's warning to contest election comes as Maharashtra, the second-largest contributor of MPs to the Lok Sabha, played a significant role in the BJP's reduced seat tally from 303 to 240 in 2024 Parliamentary elections.

In the recently held Lok Sabha elections, the BJP, along with its alliance partners, Ajit Pawar's NCP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, managed to win only 17 seats.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the undivided Shiv Sena and BJP alliance secured 41 of the state's 48 seats.

In Marathwada region, the epicentre of Maratha quota agitation, of the 8 Lok Sabha seats, NDA's lone victory was in Aurangabad.

Here, Shinde Sena's winning candidate Sandipan Bhumre is said to have won because of his Maratha caste credentials since his opponent from Uddhav Sena Chandrakant Khaire was an OBC.

In other seats such as Jalna and Nanded where BJP's sitting Maratha MPs were pitted against Maratha Congress opponents, it is the latter which the sizeable community preferred.

Jarange Patil had previously warned on 14 April that he would start a hunger strike in June if the Maratha quota issue remained unresolved by the state government.

"If the Maratha reservation issue is not resolved in the coming months, I will once again go on a hunger strike on June 4th," he had said.

Jarange Patil criticised the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government, accusing it of deceiving the Maratha community. He also blamed the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance for their inaction on the reservation issue during their tenure.

“We have been misled by the state government. Mahayuti has not given us Maratha reservation...When MVA was in power, they did nothing for the Maratha reservation,” he had stated.

In March, the Maharashtra government established a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe allegations of conspiracy and violence during the Maratha reservation agitation.

Earlier in February, the state government approved a Bill to extend 10 percent reservation to the Marathas during a special assembly session, based on a report from the Maharashtra Backward Class Commission (MBCC).

This Bill was opposed by Jarange Patil, who insisted that the Maratha reservation be provided under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.


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