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OBC leaders on hunger strike to protest 'dilution' of Backward caste quotas to accommodate Maratha reservation

It may be mentioned that OBC leaders including state’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar had been opposing dilution of OBC quota.
Last Updated : 16 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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Mumbai: Compounding problems for the Eknath Shinde-led Maha Yuti (NDA) government, two OBC activists are undertaking a hunger-strike against the dilution of their quota because of the widening scope of the recently drafted Maratha reservation.

The two protesters are Prof Laxman Hake, former member of Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission and Navnath Waghmare, the president of Samata Parishad’s Jalna unit.

They are undertaking a protest near the Datta Mandir at Wadigodri village, which is around a kilometre away from Antarwali Sarathi village, where Manoj Jarange-Patil holds his agitations.

Jarange Patil, the founder of Shivba Sanghatana, on 13 June, has ended his six-day hunger strike - the fifth one that he had undertaken, while giving 30 days time to the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP government till 13 July to implement the draft notification on ‘sage-soyare’, a Marathi term for ‘relatives from the family tree', which widens the scope of the quota.

Prof Hake commenced the fast-unto-death on 13 June, the day Jarange-Patil ended his agitation.

Before Prof Hake launched his agitation, he said: “We are committed to continue with our protest until we are given a written assurance by the state government assuring that our existing 29 per cent OBC reservation will remain intact”.

It may be mentioned that OBC leaders including state’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar had been opposing dilution of OBC quota.

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.

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Published 16 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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