Marathas threaten statewide bandh on October 10
Are seeking more social and educational security and clarity on quota stayed by the Supreme Court
Unhappy with the state sops declared on Tuesday, the Maratha community has threatened a Maharashtra Bandh on October 10. It wants clarity on the quota that has been stayed by the apex court, and has demanded that the state government give them a share in the 10% quota that the Centre had declared for economically weaker sections in the general category.
The community's 50 leaders had a roundtable meeting in Kolhapur on Wednesday under the 'Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha' banner. They passed 15 resolutions putting additional financial and political burden on the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. The community put the entire responsibility of lifting the interim stay and winning the court case on the MVA. The Marathas were given a quota of 12% in jobs and 13% in education in 2018.
On Tuesday, the state government announced some sops for the Maratha students and jobless youth – most of which were an extension of the previous schemes approved by the then BJP-Shiv Sena government, while also giving the community a quota. However, the community wants more in terms of social and educational security. It will hold a bandh next month if the demands are not met.
According to other resolutions, the community wants the government to refund the tuition fees, beginning the current academic session. It wants the state's proposed mega recruitment drive stopped and R1,000 cr each for the two state agencies that have been set up for the community's educational and financial security. It has demanded hostels for Maratha students in all districts and financial help for the families that have lost members in the quota agitation.
In a demand that goes beyond self-interest, the Marathas have demanded crop loan waiver for all farmers and rehabilitation of farmer suicide-affected families. The Marathas have also revived a demand for implementing the sentence given to the convicts of a gangrape case in Kopardi in Ahmednagar. It has asked for a substantial provision of Rs 500 cr for conserving the Maratha kingdom forts in the state, and requested to expedite the construction of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's memorial in the Arabian sea.
OBCs rise too
The other backward classes (OBC) leaders have also raised their voice seeking better treatment for their community. A Congress minister, Vijay Wadettiwar, has taken it upon himself to fight for the category that includes several castes and the largest such population (about 52%). The OBCs have a separate quota which sees a fierce competition in recruitment, education and politics (in local self-governments).
The OBCs are also insecure because of a possibility that their quota could be shared by other communities like Marathas, in case the apex court does not allow the state government to cross the 50% cap on reservations.
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