In an untimely demise of Vinayak Mete, the state has lost a staunch advocate of empowerment of Maratha community and reservation. Mete, who was the founder of Shiv Sangram, tirelessly spearheaded the movement for the development of the Maratha community.
Mete, who hails from the drought-prone Beed district in Marathwada, rose to the present position from very poor financial conditions. He had established Maharashtra Lokvikas Party in 1995 but failed to make its mark.
He created a record in Maharashtra politics by winning the elections to the state council for five terms. Mete earlier was elected to the upper house from the NCP quota. Later in 2016, he was elected unopposed from the BJP quota. His term ended last month and thereafter he was expecting his rehabilitation from BJP, especially after the collapse of the Shiv Sena-led government and the formation of the Shinde-Fadnavis government. At the recent function, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had hinted that Mete would play a big role in the state politics.
However, Fadnavis’ assurance now remains merely as an announcement as Mete is no more.
Mete enjoyed cordial relations across the parties. During his association with NCP, he was quite close to the former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar who encouraged Mete to travel and increase the party's presence across Maharashtra. Mete took the opportunity to establish himself as a leader who will not only discharge his responsibility fully but also weather all odds. Mete also enjoyed a bond with late BJP leader Gopinath Munde and until now with Fadnavis.
Mete worked hard for the development of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue and a memorial in the Arabian Sea which has yet to gather momentum despite PM Narendra Modi having laid its foundation during the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. In 2008, Mete and some other activists of his outfit had attacked the Thane-based residence of Kumar Ketkar, the then editor of a Marathi daily, to protest an editorial in the newspaper against the then state government’s decision to install a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea.
Mete had made a big contribution in agitation demanding reservation for the Maratha community and also for the Muslim community. He was at the forefront to demand an increase in the age of candidates for various competitive exams. Besides, Mete was quite active in the Marathwada Vikas Manch which felicitated many people from the region working in various fields.