Despite prolonged negotiations that stretched late into the night, discussions between the government and the Manoj Jarange-Patil supporters' delegation yielded no results. Today, Jarange-Patil has reaffirmed his commitment to continue his hunger strike until a decision is reached to grant the Maratha community a Kunbi caste certificate. The Fadnavis-Pawar government now finds itself in a complex predicament, seeking new avenues to navigate this challenging situation.
Jarange Patil remains unwavering in his demand, while the call for Maratha reservation gains momentum across the state. Demonstrations in support of Jarange Patil have sprouted in every district of Marathwada, and some villages in Parbhani and Dharashiv districts are gearing up for hunger strikes. Tragically, a young man from Umarga taluka in Dharashiv district took his own life to demand Maratha reservation, intensifying the atmosphere.
Government seeks more time to resolve
What initially began as a movement to grant a caste certificate to the Maratha community in Marathwada has now spread statewide, focusing on the issue of reservation. Although the government has taken a positive stance, the challenge lies in dealing with the OBC community and its leaders who openly oppose the Kunbi caste certificate and Maratha reservation. Additionally, opposition from the Kunbi community in Vidarbha has escalated, further complicating the situation.
Amidst these tensions, the Dhangar community has renewed its demand for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes (ST). Activists of the Dhangar Samaj Kriti Samiti expressed their demands through protests in Solapur. As Maharashtra's social environment becomes increasingly turbulent due to such incidents, the state government must find a dignified solution to halt Jarange-Patil's hunger strike, safeguard his health, and navigate this situation within the legal framework.
Efforts to break the deadlock are underway, with senior government officials assessing whether the "Rohini Committee" report, often compared to the Mandal Commission recommendations, which significantly altered caste dynamics in Indian politics, can provide a resolution in Maharashtra. However, immediate assistance from the Rohini committee report is unlikely, given the ongoing G20 conference in the country. Thus, the government's primary option remains persuading Manoj Jarange-Patil and requesting time to resolve the issue.
Pressure on govt from different ends
Since the initiation of Jarange Patil's agitation, the government has faced immense pressure from opposition parties, leaders representing various castes and tribes, and influential figures. Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati, the founder of the Jan Swarajya Party, emphasizes the importance of adhering to constitutional frameworks while addressing reservation issues. Opposition party leader Vadettiwar's statements on reservation have sparked fresh controversies. Leaders like Prakash Shendge from the Dhangar community and former BJP minister Pankaja Munde, representing the powerful Vanjari community, advocate for reservation within the constitutional framework. The communities represented by these leaders have exerted pressure on the government, complicating the situation further.