Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde's Tough Stand Leads To Maratha Activist Manoj Jarange-Patil Ending 17-Day Fast

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde's Tough Stand Leads To Maratha Activist Manoj Jarange-Patil Ending 17-Day Fast

Deep fissures have appeared in Jarange-Patil's camp with a close associate Ajay Baraskar openly accusing him of being insincere and worse.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 09:56 PM IST
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Manoj Jarange-Patil |

The Eknath Shinde government's toughening of its stand towards Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil appears to be yielding results. Cases were filed in Shirur and Amalner for allegedly provoking rasta rokos. Also, deep fissures have appeared in Jarange-Patil's camp with a close associate Ajay Baraskar openly accusing him of being insincere and worse.

Following this and some tough talking by Shinde, the activist unexpectedly announced the withdrawal of his 17-day-old fast on Monday. He now plans a statewide tour even as the state legislature commenced its budget session on Monday.

Earlier he had said he would go on an indefinite fast at his village Antarwali Sarati in Jalna district till Kunbi Marathas are included in the OBC category for reservation purposes. The government convened a special session of the legislature on February 20 and passed a bill granting 10 per cent reservation to Marathas in matters of government jobs and education. But, Jarange-Patil was least impressed with this. He alleged that Marathas have been taken for a ride by the government. He predicted that the 10 per cent quota would not stand legal scrutiny since it breached the 50 per cent cap clamped by the Supreme Court earlier.

Jarange-Patil had earlier led a march by thousands of Marathas from Jalna to Mumbai. His huge cavalcade was stopped at Navi Mumbai and following the issue of a notification January 26 night assuring that kunbi caste certificates would be issued he returned to Jalna. However, the bill passed unanimously by the legislature started targeting the government daily and on Sunday he crossed all limits by accusing deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis of planning to murder him by spiking his saline drip. Both Mr Shinde, who is a Maratha himself, and Mr Fadnavis hit back and accused him of misleading Maratha masses. In the past couple of days there have been sporadic violence by Maratha in a few parts of the state. On Monday a state transport bus was set on fire in Jalna.

Jarange’s decision came a day after he announced a march to Mumbai to press for his demands related to quota in jobs and education for the Maratha community and coincided with the start of the budget session of the state legislature in Mumbai.

Asked about police complaints against him over the quota stir, the activist appeared unfazed. “If they want to prosecute me, I have no issues, but (by doing so) they will invite trouble. People would get angry, and the chief minister and the home minister would face consequences. It is their call now,” he said.

Shinde on Sunday evening had asked Jarange Patil not to test the patience of the government after he accused deputy CM Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, of planning to murder him. He had also made some references to Mr Fadnavis' Brahmin caste. It remains to be seen if he is able to raise the agitation to the same level as before. Many in the Maratha community feel that they should await the outcome of the legal challenge to the 10% quota granted by the government before hitting streets all over again.

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