Jarange-Patil warns Congress of electoral backlash in Maharashtra Assembly polls over Maratha quota issue

Mr. Jarange-Patil reiterated his demand for the implementation of the draft notification that recognises all blood relatives of Maratha community members as Kunbis

Updated - June 10, 2024 04:09 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 03:59 pm IST - Mumbai

Pro-Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil accused the Congress party on Monday of betraying the Maratha community’s interests and warned the party would face repercussions in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Leader of Opposition and prominent OBC leader Vijay Wadettiwar had opposed reserving a portion of the OBC quota for the Maratha community. Reacting to the Congress leader’s stance, the activist on the third day of his indefinite fast at Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna, said, “The Congress sought votes from the Maratha community in the recent Lok Sabha elections, and now they are acting against our interests. They will face the consequences in the Vidhan Sabha elections.”

In the 18th Lok Sabha polls, Congress won 13 of the 17 seats contested in the Western State as part of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). The alliance secured 30 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats. In comparison, the ruling MahaYuti won 17 seats, with an additional seat won by a rebel Congress candidate, who later extended his support to the grand old party. The newly-elected Congress MP from Jalna, Kalyan Kale, visited Mr. Jarange-Patil in his village on Monday morning.

Mr. Jarange-Patil reiterated his demand for the implementation of the draft notification that recognises all blood relatives of Maratha community members as Kunbis, an agrarian group classified as an Other Backward Class (OBC) community, who are eligible for quota benefits. He also sought a law to identify Kunbis as Marathas.

In February, the Maharashtra legislature passed a bill granting 10% reservation for Marathas in education and government jobs under a separate category.

The lanky activist also demanded the implementation of the Hyderabad Gazette to validate Kunbi records for Marathas, claiming that 57 lakh documents prove the shared identity of Marathas and Kunbis. Additionally, he called for the withdrawal of cases against protesters advocating for Maratha quotas.

Before this, Mr. Jarange-Patil had led a protest over the quota issue from February 10 to 26.

On the impact of the Maratha reservation issue on the recent Lok Sabha elections, he recently said that his community had demonstrated its strength in the polls, but denied allegations that BJP leaders Pankaja Munde and Raosaheb Danve’s loss in Beed and Jalna, respectively, was due to his appeal to the Maratha community, stating that he neither supported nor opposed any party. “I did not favour any candidate nor was against anyone in the Lok Sabha election,” he added.

He also accused Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis of obstructing the Maratha reservation process, alleging that Mr. Fadnavis had conspired against the Maratha community, warning that he would field candidates for all 288 Assembly seats in the upcoming State election if his demands were not met. However, he added that if the reservation demand was fulfilled, the Maratha community would hold the CM and his deputy in high regard.

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