How to win elections and influence voters the Devendra Fadnavis way

Updated: Dec 28, 2016, 14:18 IST | Dharmendra Jore

With an eye on the upcoming civic and zilla parishad polls, the Devendra Fadnavis government will form a separate department to cater to OBCs, SBCs, and denotified and nomadic tribes

CM Devendra Fadnavis
CM Devendra Fadnavis

After wooing the Marathas with a quota and a memorial to Shivaji Maharaj, in yet another political decision that will placate one of the largest sections of the state’s population, the Devendra Fadnavis government has decided to form a separate department (Mantralaya) to cater to other backward classes (OBC), special backward classes (SBC), and denotified and nomadic tribes.

The new department will have a cabinet minister. The CM will most probably keep it with him initially, to expedite the establishment and administration part of the department, which is expected to come up within three months from Tuesday.

The state cabinet approved the decision on Tuesday at its weekly cabinet meeting. Fadnavis had made an announcement to this effect at a convention of OBCs in Thane district last week, but not many expected him to fulfill the promise as quickly.

But Fadnavis had a reason to speed up the process because of forthcoming civic and zilla parishad polls. The OBCs across the state have been crying foul over the Marathas’ demand for reservation, and fear that the Maratha community might eat into their share of quota.

Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the decision would intensify casteism in the state, which is already facing social turmoil in view of agitations.

After Marathas, OBCs etc
The OBCs are the largest section of the society with more than 400 castes spread across every nook and corner of the state. They together enjoy reservation in education, jobs and politics (in local self-government).

The SBCs are a small segment but they too have their own issues. The denotified and nomadic tribes are a votebank that needs to be tapped by the BJP.

Till date all these sections were served by the social welfare department, but the department has always been accused of treating them with bias in socio-economic issues.

The government was under pressure after treating another larger section of the Maratha community which constitutes about 32% of population with kid gloves.

The government has assured Marathas a quota, increased income cap for scholarships and launched work on the Shivaji Maharaj memorial.

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