Even as the deadline for Maratha reservation has arrived and Manoj Jarange-Patil has said that he shall resort to a fast until death if the GR for granting Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas is not published by Tuesday, the Maratha Kranti Morcha has now opposed the idea of Kunbi caste certificates for all Marathas. The organisation had gathered the community in 2018 to organise 54 mega marches in different cities of the state demanding reservation.
"We don't want the temporary measure of Kunbi caste certificate, but we want a quota for Marathas," co-ordinator of the Maratha Kranti Morcha Sunil Nagne said. He also warned of a morcha in Mumbai on October 26 for the demand.
'We are with Jarange-Patil in agitation'
"I salute Manoj Jarange-Patil for the efforts he has taken to advance the cause. But, we certainly have differences of opinion," Nagne said while speaking about Jarange-Patil's stand. However, he denied charges that this was an attempt to deviate the agitation. "Though we don't agree with Jarange-Patil, we are with him in the agitation and we want to warn the government not to try to split the agitation," he added.
Nagne also said that the members of the community are now restless, and hence the government shouldn't waste time on baseless demands like granting Kunbi caste certificates to all Marathas. "In 2016, Kishor Chavan had raised the demand, and he had even moved the court. But, the demand was turned down by the court. Hence, we are demanding a reservation within the 50 per cent limit and in the name of Hindu Maratha," he said while elaborating on the demand.
The common Maratha will be coming to Mumbai on October 26. It would be difficult for the government to handle the pressure. "Hence, the government should form a task force in connection with the curative petition filed in the supreme court and make it clear as to how it plans to proceed on granting lasting reservation to Marathas," Nagne said.
Nagne also said that in the original meeting for the Maratha reservation that was held on February 4, 2023, the issue of granting the Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas was never even on the agenda. "Our demand was to include the Marathas under the OBC category and grant the community the quota it deserves. A committee to co-ordinate efforts to grant caste certificates to Marathas in Marathwada too was formed, and its tenure ended on August 29. Till then, there was no demand regarding granting Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas," Nagne said. He also played a video clip of Kishor Chavan saying the same thing during an interview on a news channel.
Maratha agitators give call for boycott of Ajit Pawar's programme
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was shown black flags by pro-Maratha reservation activists at Madha in Solapur district. The Maratha agitators had also given a call for a boycott of Pawar's programme. A heavy police force was deployed at the program where Pawar addressed a rally of farmers.
In another development, the Dabbawala association in Mumbai has declared its decision to stay away from all the programmes announced by political parties and support the cause of Maratha reservation.
"All the dabbawalas in Mumbai are loyal to Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena under him. We used to regularly attend the Dasra Melava at Shivaji Park for several years. But, looking at the ultimatum given by Jarange Patil, we have decided not to attend any program organized by any political party," Subhash Talekar, president of the Dabbawala association, said.
Two Maratha reservation activists die of suicide
Meanwhile, two Maratha quota activists, including a minor, allegedly died by suicide in Maharashtra’s Nanded district in the last two days. According to sources, both left suicide notes seeking reservations for the Maratha community. The two were identified as Shubham Pawar, 24, who ended his life at the Vadgaon village on Saturday night and a 17-year-old Class 10 student who killed himself at the Naigaon the next day. Three quota activists ended life in the last four days in the state.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday urged the Maratha youth not to take extreme steps like suicide and give the government time to provide reservations that would fit within the legal framework and be sustainable, and reiterated that his government was committed to Maratha quotas.