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Special session on Maratha reservation on Feb 20 as Jarange-Patil's fast continues

Maratha reservation campaigner Manoj Jarange-Patil, who is undertaking a fast-unto-death, indicated on Monday, his 10th day of hunger strike, that what the community wants is actual reservation and not mere assurances.
Last Updated : 19 February 2024, 10:51 IST

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Mumbai: In what could turn out to be a significant step in giving reservation to the Maratha community, a special session of the Maharashtra legislature is slated to be held on Tuesday.

A big challenge before the Maha Yuti government comprising the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP trio is to ensure that there is no dispute between the Maratha community and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Maratha reservation campaigner Manoj Jarange-Patil, who is undertaking a fast-unto-death, indicated on Monday, his 10th day of hunger strike, that what the community wants is actual reservation and not mere assurances.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and two deputies Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar visited the Shivneri Fort in Junnar tehsil of Pune, the birthplace of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji on his 394th birth anniversary.

“We are committed to give reservation to the Marathas without disturbing the reservation of OBC or other communities,” said Shinde, accompanied by Fadnavis and Pawar.

At Antarwali Sarathi in Ambad tehsil of Jalna, where Jarange-Patil is undertaking the agitation, a function was held to pay tributes to Shivaji.

The hunger strike is Jarange-Patil's fourth in the last six months.

On Tuesday, the weekly Cabinet is slated to meet and discuss the report submitted by Justice Sunil Shukre (Retd), the chairman of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), which surveyed the social, economic, and educational backwardness of the Maratha community.

The survey by the MSBCC, held across Maharashtra, involved 3.5 to 4 lakh state government personnel, and covered 2.5 crore families.

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 Marathas and are covered under OBCs - and thus the certificates would enable them to get reservation in jobs and education. The OBCs, meanwhile, fear the potential loss of benefits.

It may be mentioned, in 2018, a commission headed by Justice M G Gaikwad (Retd), too had submitted a report on the backwardness of the Maratha community. However, it failed the test in the Supreme Court as it crossed the 50 per cent cap set by the apex court.

The opposition to give reservation to Marathas as Kunbis is being led by NCP leader and minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who has made it clear that the dilution of the OBC quota will not be allowed. The OBC community too is demanding a caste census.

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Published 19 February 2024, 10:51 IST

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