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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 BJP looks to Modi magic to counter Maratha scare

Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP looks to Modi magic to counter Maratha scare

Updated on: 13 May,2024 06:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore | dharmendra.jore@mid-day.com

Maratha activist Manoj Jarange tours community strongholds, says it was time ‘we’ defeated ‘them’ instead of helping ‘them’ win, like 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP looks to Modi magic to counter Maratha scare

Maratha community members welcome activist Manoj Jarange Patil in Thane last year. File pic/PTI; (right) PM Modi campaigning in Maharashtra. File pic/Nimesh Dave

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Key Highlights

  1. Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil gave a series of interviews
  2. Reiterating that his community members would defeat those detrimental to their quota cause
  3. The BJP has emerged as his only target

Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil gave a series of interviews on Saturday and Sunday, reiterating that his community members would defeat those detrimental to their quota cause. Going by the statements he has made and the leaders he has named as Maratha bêtes noires, the BJP has emerged as his only target. The statement was strategic, made ahead of polling on Monday in 11 segments, most of which are dominated by Marathas. 


The covert campaign here has revolved around Maratha versus Other Backward Classes plank. The BJP is on the edge because it has candidates in 7 seats, a mix of rural and urban, in the fourth phase (May 13). Union minister Raosaheb Danve, Pankaja Munde, Raksha Khadse, Smita Wagh, Sujay Vikhe Patil and Murlidhar Mohol are among BJP’s seasoned candidates. Shinde Sena has three seats and NCP (Ajit Pawar) one. 


Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil addresses a gathering Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil addresses a gathering 


Though Jarange has been saying he has not supported or opposed any alliance or individual, he has been touring Maratha-sensitive areas to convey that it was time ‘we’ defeated ‘them’ instead of helping ‘them’ win like the 2019 polls. Jarange wants the BJP-led government to let Marathas share the OBC quota legally, instead of giving them an independent but ‘legally not tenable’ quota. Jarange fanned Maratha sentiments on Sunday yet again, asserting that giving the community an OBC status was the only solution. The government didn’t agree with Jarange anticipating backlash from its core vote bank of OBCs. 

But then, BJP knows that winning certain seats without garnering a good number of Maratha votes, is a difficult task. To ease the burden, the party roped in the doyen of Marathas, Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhonsle, also a candidate from Satara, to canvas for Pankaja Munde in Beed. Bhonsle made an emotional appeal, threatening to quit if people (Marathas) didn’t vote for Pankaja, the party’s OBC face. 

Beed is the place where the epicentre of Maratha activism had shifted from Jalana in the wake of the MLAs’ residences and offices being set on fire. Subsequently, like her fellow party candidates, Munde too faced a challenge from the community that supported her late father Gopinath and ensured her sister Pritam won twice as an MP, once with a national record for the highest-ever margin. 

BJP wasn’t unaware of what Marathas would bring its way. So far, BJP’s trump card, PM Narendra Modi has held a greater number of rallies in Maharashtra —a good number of them in Maratha-dominated parts.  He is expected to address more before the 5th phase polling on May 20. 

May 20
Day fifth phase of the election will be held 

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