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Maratha quota movement faces internal rumblings as Jarange-Patil's hunger strike enters 13th day

Sangeeta Wankhede accused Jarange-Patil of being in contact with NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar, alleging "direct communication channels" between them.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 11:48 IST

Mumbai: Despite Maratha reservation campaigner Manoj Jarange-Patil's ongoing stand-off with the Maharashtra government, fractures within his associates have started to emerge.

In the last two days, two person formerly aligned with the campaign -- Ajay Maharaj Baraskar and Sangeeta Wankhede -- have openly criticised Jarange-Patil, the founder of Shivba Sanghatana, based in Antarwali Sarathi village, Ambad tehsil, Jalna district.

Ajay Baraskar, a kirtankar, accused Jarange-Patil of lacking transparency. "While he used to meet officials and ministers in presence of his supporters and mediapersons, he had also held closed-door meetings and what happened in those meetings, no one knows the details," Baraskar said.

He also accused him of having one of the meetings with an official in a hotel. "I am witness to some of these meetings," Baraskar claimed.

Sangeeta Wankhede, formerly associated directly with Jarange-Patil, said over the years he (Jarange-Patil) had supported anyone who had taken up the cause of Maratha reservation.

She also accused Jarange-Patil of being in contact with NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar, alleging "direct communication channels" between them.

Jarange-Patil is undertaking a fast-unto-death, now in its 13th day, marking his fourth hunger strike within six months.

With the enactment of the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Bill, 2024, granting 10 per cent reservation, the Maratha community faces two alternatives.

In a parallel effort last year, the government sought Kunbi-Maratha and Maratha-Kunbi records, discovering 57 lakh records according to Jarange-Patil.

Kunbis, a Maratha sub-caste, fall under OBCs, enabling them to access job and educational reservations with these certificates.

However, Jarange-Patil's demand extends to recognising Marathas as Kunbis, advocating for separate quotas from the OBCs, and the formal notification of 'sage-soyare,' --  Marathi term for ‘relatives from the family tree -- expanding the quota's scope.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 11:48 IST)

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