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Fadnavis wants to eliminate me in an encounter, says Maratha quota activist Jarange

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange stated on Sunday that he intends to march to Mumbai and stage a protest outside the residence of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Jarange accused Fadnavis of attempting to kill him.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 10:44 IST

Mumbai: Alleging threat to his life from BJP’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Maratha reservation campaigner Manoj Jarange-Patil on Sunday, in a surprising and dramatic turn of events, set out for Mumbai as the Marathas-vs-OBCs reservation issue took a serious political turn. 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and NCP’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, however, made it clear that the government would not tolerate any disturbance of law and order even as Fadnavis said that the utterances of  Jarange-Patil are politically-motivated. 

The BJP came to the defence of Fadnavis, who is also the state’s Home Minister, after Jarange-Patil, who is unto the 16th day of fast-unto-death, announced  that he would camp outside the Sagar official bungalow of the Deputy Chief Minister.

The development came on the eve of the brief five-day-long Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature, which commences in Mumbai on Monday. 

"The government is going all out to defame us. The government wants me to die through hunger strike. It is conspiring to eliminate me by poisoning me through saline. That is why I have stopped taking IV fluids. Fadnavis wants to eliminate me in an encounter,” said Jarange-Patil in Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna district. 

He also spoke against state’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Minister Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP and Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane. 

While addressing the press conference, Jarange-Patil, the founder of Shivba Sanghatana, got up  and started walking toward Mumbai and later was asked by his supporters to board an SUV. 

When last reports came in, Jarange-Patil was in the outskirts of Jalna district, where his supporters including ladies are trying to persuade him not to go to Mumbai because of his health. 

In Mumbai, Shinde, Fadnavis and Pawar held a meeting and later the state Cabinet, where the issue was discussed. 

“So far, he was speaking like a ‘karyakarta’ but now he seems to be speaking like a politician,” said Shinde.  “What kind of allegations he is making…he is stooping so low,” he said, adding that Fadnavis has been relentlessly working for Maratha reservation. “We will not tolerate it,” he said.

“The government would not tolerate any disturbance of law and order,” said Pawar. 

Fadnavis, on his part, made it clear that the move of Jarange-Patil is politically-motivated. “Today someone is speaking the same script which so far (Shiv Sena(UBT) head) Uddhav Thackeray and (NCP(SP) supremo) Sharad Pawar was speaking,” he said, and made it clear that if anyone takes law in his or her hands, appropriate action would  be taken. 

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Nitesh Rane said that Jarange-Patil would have to cross a huge wall of party workers before reaching the Sagar bungalow. 

The Maratha community now has two options of getting benefits of reservations in jobs and education. 

In February, the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Bill, 2024, was passed in the state legislature, paving the way for 10 per cent reservation.  

Last year, the government, in a parallel exercise, had also searched  for Kunbi-Maratha and Maratha-Kunbi records and as per Jarange-Patil’s claims 57 lakh records have been found. Kunbis form a sub-caste of the Maratha and covered under OBCs - and thus the certificates would enable them to get reservation in jobs and education. 

However, Jarange-Patil’s demand is to declare the Marathas as Kunbis and grant separate quotas from the OBCs, plus the formal notification of the ‘sage-soyare’, a Marathi term for ‘relatives from the family tree,  which widened the scope of the quota. 

Over the past few days, two of those who were part of the campaign - Ajay Maharaj Baraskar and Sangeeta Wankhede had spoken out against Jarange-Patil, the founder of Shivba Sanghatana.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 10:44 IST)

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