Maharashtra: OBC Leader Laxman Hake On Fast Unto Death Against Maratha Reservation Activist Manoj Jarange

Maharashtra: OBC Leader Laxman Hake On Fast Unto Death Against Maratha Reservation Activist Manoj Jarange

Their demand is that the 29% reserved for them should not be diluted to accommodate Marathas. The state government has passed a law granting 10% reservation to Marathas breaching the 50% cap imposed by the Supreme Court.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Saturday, June 15, 2024, 09:26 PM IST
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Maharashtra: OBC Leader Laxman Hake On Fast Unto Death Against Maratha Reservation Activist Manoj Jarange | Facebook

Mumbai: Even as Manoj Jarange Patil called off his "fast unto death" on the issue of reservation for Marathas, the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) have now started asserting themselves. Their demand is that the 29% reserved for them should not be diluted to accommodate Marathas. The state government has passed a law granting 10% reservation to Marathas breaching the 50% cap imposed by the Supreme Court. The state government's law is already facing legal challenge before the Bombay high court.

Prof Laxman Hake 46), OBC activist of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and ex- member of the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission is on an indefinite hunger strike at Wadi Godri village in Jalna District., which is close to Antarwali Sarati village which is the hub of Jarange Patil's agitation. Interestingly, Hake commenced his fast on June 13 when Jarange Patil called of his fast to give time to the government to include Marathas in the OBC category so that they may avail of the benefits of reservation in matters of government jobs and education.

It may be recalled that senior cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal has already expressed his strong opposition to include Marathas in the OBC list. He had even threatened to put in his papers if the government succumbed to pressure from Jarange Patil. Hake explained on Saturday:

"I have launched this fast unto death because there is a sense of fear among the OBCs in Maharashtra. Explicit words are being used against OBCs on social media, and their shops have been targeted. I and my associates are committed to protecting the rights of the real marginalised and backward castes." "We will continue with our protest until we are given a written assurance by the state government guaranteeing that our existing 29 per cent reservation will remain intact," Hake told newspapersons.

Prof Hake had quit the backward classes commission along with two others cause of "pressure" from the Maha Yuti government to deem Marathas to be socially backward caste. In 2018 the Devendra Fadnavis government had granted reservations to Marathas, but that decision was stuck down by the Supreme Court since the social backwardness of the Marathas was not proved by the government. Interestingly, the Bombay high court had upheld the state government's policy.

Jarange Patil's strategy is to get the government to issue kunbi certificates to Marathas. And since kunbis, an agricultural caste, are already in the OBC list the newly-included Marathas would also benefit from reservation. Hake's contention is that if this demand is conceded by the government then it would open the floodgates and the OBCs would be deprived of their rights.

The Marathas, specially those of Marathwada region, had indulged in tactical voting against the Maha Yuti because of which the ruling alliance performed poorly in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections. The BJP and its allies now fear that it the same type of voting takes place in the upcoming elections to the 288 assembly seats, then it will have disastrous political consequences. It is well known that Jarange Patil is being backed in a big way by a prominent and highly resourceful leader of the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

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