Jarange-Patil accuses Bhujbal of inciting rift between Marathas, OBCs

The activist says future steps for the Maratha quota agitation will be decided after July 13

Published - June 24, 2024 07:43 pm IST - Mumbai

Manoj Jarange Patil accused Chhagan Bhujbal of using inflammatory language aimed at creating a rift between Marathas and OBCs, potentially inciting riots.

Manoj Jarange Patil accused Chhagan Bhujbal of using inflammatory language aimed at creating a rift between Marathas and OBCs, potentially inciting riots. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Pro-Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil on Monday accused Maharashtra Minister and prominent OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal of using inflammatory language aimed at creating a rift between Marathas and OBCs, potentially inciting riots.

“If he wants riots to happen in the State, the Maratha community should also stay vigilant,” he said. The activist also announced that the future steps for the Maratha quota agitation would be decided after July 13.

Mr. Jarange-Patil said the Maratha community was now in trouble as he was left alone. “But I will fight back and ensure that the Maratha community gets reservation under the OBC category,” he said, speaking from a hospital bed in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (previously Aurangabad).

The 41-year-old activist’s statement follows heightened tensions over the quota issue, especially after a hunger strike by OBC leaders that mobilised various backward classes and prompted government intervention.

Suspends fast

On June 13, Mr. Jarange-Patil suspended his indefinite fast over the Maratha quota, six days after launching it, and set a deadline of one month before the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to accept the community’s demands, including implementation of the draft notification that recognises Kunbis as ‘sage soyare’ (blood relatives) of Maratha community members and a law to identify Kunbis as Marathas. He also called for the framing of a law to identify Kunbis as Marathas, warning that he would field candidates for all 288 Assembly seats in the State election if his demands were not met.

Also Read | Marathwada simmers as Jarange-Patil, Hake cross swords

In February this year, the Maharashtra legislature unanimously passed a Bill granting a separate 10% reservation in education and jobs to the Maratha community under a separate category. However, the community has been demanding quota under the OBC grouping, while the OBC leaders are demanding assurance that their quota will remain unaffected. They are rallying behind Mr. Bhujbal to protect their existing quota.

“Chhagan Bhujbal made provocative statements in Pune. Bhujbal metaphorically said ‘Keep you rusted swords ready,’ implying he desires riots in the State and community division. I urge the Maratha community to stay alert,” Mr. Jarange-Patil said.

For almost a year, the western State has been witnessing increasing polarisation as the Maratha community is demanding inclusion in the OBC group for reservation in education and government jobs, and Mr. Jarange-Patil has been at the forefront of the protests by launching indefinite fast protests, and Mumbai march.

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