"D Fadnavis Trying To Divide Marathas": Quota Agitation Leader Hits Out

The Maharashtra Assembly last week passed a resolution to provide quota benefits to Marathas

'D Fadnavis Trying To Divide Marathas': Quota Agitation Leader Hits Out

Manoj Jarange Patil hit headlines for his hunger strike in demand of reservation for Marathas


In a scathing attack on Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Maratha quota agitation leader Manoj Jarange Patil today accused the BJP leader of hatching a plot to deny quota benefits to members of the community. Speaking to the media, Mr Patil today threatened to begin a march to Mr Fadnavis' home.

"Fadnavis has taken a decision without taking (Chief Minister Eknath) Shinde in the loop. Everything is happening on his directions, he is running the state. Does Fadnavis want me to sacrifice myself? I wil march to his bungalow. Stop me if you can," said Mr Patil, who hit headlines for his hunger strike in demand of reservation for Marathas.

The Maharashtra Assembly last week passed a resolution to provide quota benefits to the politically-influential community that accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the state's population.

Mr Patil has, however, said the new law is not in line with their demand. "We need reservation which we deserve, give reservation under OBC category to those whose proof of being Kunbi has been found. For those who don't have proof, pass a law of 'Sage Soyare'," Mr Patil said after the Bill cleared the Assembly. The quota agitation leader is demanding benefits for blood relations of members of the Kunbi sub-caste among Marathas. The Kunbis enjoy reservation within the OBC category.

During the agitation, Mr Patil had demanded that all members of Maratha community be considered Kunbi and given reservations under the OBC Quota, but the state government decided that only people with Nizam-era Kunbi certificates will get the benefits.

"Fadnavis is trying to create a rift within the Maratha community. Attempts are being made to finish big communities and give more prominence to smaller communities," he alleged.

Mr Patil said he is not affiliated to any political party. "I am a farmer's son. I will not spare Fadnavis. Attempts are being made to finish off the Maratha community and defame me. Fadnavis will be wiped off. I will ensure that relatives (of Marathas) get quota benefits," he said.

The legislation brought by the Eknath Shinde government is the third attempt in a decade to provide reservation benefits to the Maratha community. The earlier two attempts during the tenure of Congress's Prithviraj Chavan and Mr Fadnavis were struck down by courts.

A key factor behind the setbacks to the earlier laws was the fact that it took the quantum of total reservation past the 50 per cent ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court.

The Opposition has warned that the legislation may not eventually clear the judicial test.

Veteran leader Sharad Pawar has said it is similar to the one brought by the Devendra Fadnavis government. "We need to see what happens to the fresh bill in the Supreme Court," he has said. State Congress chief Nana Patole has slammed the BJP for bringing the law just before the elections. "These types of laws were brought two times, but they were scrapped and put in a bin in the Supreme Court. In 2019, they did for the winning elections and now also they did for the elections. They want to take the credit for this. This will not work because it is done only for the election to get the votes of the Maratha community," the Congress leader has said.

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has welcomed the legislation but added that "nothing can be said" till it is implemented. Taking a swipe at his estranged lieutenant Eknath Shinde, Mr Thackeray said, "Everyone knows the history of CM (Shinde). Therefore, till the time whatever he has said is implemented, nothing can be said."