“I Will Name Candidates Who Need To Be Defeated Now,” Maratha Reservation Activist Jarange Threatens The Ruling Mahayuti In Maharashtra

Swarajya Staff

Jul 11, 2024, 07:53 PM | Updated 08:14 PM IST

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

Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange on Thursday (July 11) warned the Mahayuti-led Maharashtra State Government to fulfill his demand of recognising the Maratha caste in its entirety across the state as a part of the Other Backward Class (OBC) category else it might not augur well for the coalition in the upcoming state assembly elections.

In a rally held in Beed city in the Marathwada region of the state, Jarange demanded Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to immediately implement the ‘Sage-Soyare’ Government Resolution (GR) passed by the state government in January, 2024.

Jarange also warned the OBC leaders across the political spectrum challenging blanket inclusion of Marathas in the OBC category that he would reply using proportionate force.

“We taught you a lesson last time (that is, Lok Sabha elections, 2024). But then I didn’t name the candidates who ought to be defeated. This time (that is, in the upcoming state assembly elections) I will name the candidates that need to be defeated if our demands are not met,” Jarange said this in what is supposed to be a jibe at the Mahayuti-led state government.

“If the government neglects our demands, I will once again mobilise the Maratha community and march towards the state capital Mumbai,” Jarange added while speaking at the rally which was attended by a large number of his supporters.

If the ‘Sage-Soyre’ GR is implemented, all candidates from the socio-politically and numerically dominant Maratha caste in the state would be eligible to seek admission in higher education institutions and claim seats in state government jobs under the OBC category.

At present, only those candidates whose ancestors from paternal side have been noted as ‘Kunbi’ in revenue records are eligible to seek benefits meant for the OBCs.

Reservation activist Jarange has claimed that the Kunbi grouping is a sub-caste of the larger Maratha caste cluster. Since Kunbis in Konkan and Vidarbha region of the state were found to be socially backward as compared to the landed Marathas, the former were included in the OBC category in the past by the Mandal Commission.

Maratha candidates in the state at present can seek reservation under the 10 percent seats reserved solely for Marathas under the Socially Educationally Backward Category (SEBC) or through the 10 percent seats reserved under Economically Weaker Section (EWS). Those with Kunbi records from paternal side can also seek Other Backward Class (OBC) category benefits.

Since SEBC reservation was quashed twice in the past- first in 2014 by the Bombay High Court and later in 2021 by the Supreme Court, Jarange said that the SEBC reservation given recently by the Mahayuti-led state government is not what the Maratha community wants and that it is the blanket OBC reservation alone which the community needs.

At present, the reservation activist has been travelling across the eight districts of the Marathwada region which has been the epicentre of the Maratha agitation. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Mahayuti was able to win only one out of the eight seats in the region. As a whole, the ruling coalition's Lok Sabha seat share in the state came down from 43 in 2019 to 17 at present.

Political leaders from both, the ruling Mahayuti as well as the coalition of the opposition parties – Maha Vikas Aghadi, are vary of the ongoing Maratha agitation as the community is supposed to constitute 30-32 percent of the state’s population.

Elections for the 288 seats of the state assembly are expected to be held three months from now in October 2024.

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