Dhangars' Maratha tune is double trouble for Devendra Fadnavis
Community demands reservation under Scheduled Tribes, even as Sena ups the ante against the state government over its 'inaction' on Marathas' issues
It will be a while before Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis can catch a break. While the Dhangar community, after the Marathas, is now up in arms against the Bharatiya Janata Party for the exact same reason, Shiv Sena has demanded that the CM ditch the Backward Class Commission's report and give Marathas their deserved reservation. Of Sena's 63 MLAs, 40 are Marathas.
Criticising the state for not taking a clear stand, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, in a press briefing, said, "Either the government appoints a committee or pushes everything on the legal system."
Uddhav had called a meeting of all MLAs and ministers to discuss the issue. While the government will hold a special session to talk about the reservation, Sena has said it should be done right away without waiting for the report.
Marathas have been demanding 16 per cent reservation in education and employment. From August 1, the community has decided to protest by holding sit-ins outside the homes of several MPs and MLAs. While the state has been waiting for the commission's report, the Nationalist Congress Party met with the chairperson of the commission and requested him to release the report at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the Dhangars have been left out completely, as the state has handed over the issue to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study. The Dhangar community falls in the category of Nomadic Tribes (NT), and hence, it wants reservation under Scheduled Tribes (ST), as the benefits are more — while NT is specific to the state, ST gives them the liberty of applying for national reservations in education and employment.
Its leaders claimed that Fadnavis, during 2014 election campaigning, had promised the community to consider its demand on priority. Prakash Shendge, former legislator and president of Maharashtra State Dhangar Community Welfare Association, said, "We have called a meeting of all community leaders and representatives to decide the next course of action to take the agitation forward, as the state has not fulfilled its promise. There already is a mention of our community in ST, but the state is not considering it simply because of the spelling difference (the list mentions Dhangad), saying there is no such community here. But Dhangad and Dhangar is one and the same."
Under one umbrella
Uddhav has instructed his MLAs to consider the issue of other community reservations and ask the CM to include all in one recommendation and send it to the central government
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