BJP plans outreach programme for Maratha community ahead of Maharashtra assembly polls

The Asian Age.  | prasad patil

India, Politics

The protest led by activist Manoj Jarange proved to be one of the biggest factors that worked against the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls

Devendra Fadanvis (R) and Chandrakant Patil during BJP MLA meeting at Vasant Smruti. (PTI File Photo)

Mumbai: After the Lok Sabha debacle, the BJP has planned a Maratha outreach with an eye on state Assembly polls. The party will communicate the steps it has taken for the welfare of the Maratha community in the last 10 years.

The protest led by activist Manoj Jarange proved to be one of the biggest factors that worked against the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. Despite the 10 per cent reservation in education and jobs provided by the Eknath Shinde government, Maratha organisations ensured the community votes to defeat BJP candidates, particularly in the Marathwada region.

Rejecting the separate 10 per cent reservation, Mr. Jarange is insisting for the reservation under the OBC category. Though no political party is supporting Mr. Jarange’s demand, the community voted in favour of Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar).

Former Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil admitted that there is a massive unrest in the Maratha community against BJP, which was the biggest factor of the party’s Lok Sabha performance. The Maratha community is the single largest caste in the state accounting for approximately 30 per cent of the population.

“The BJP gave reservation and other concessions to the Maratha community. But despite of that, there is anger against the BJP in the community. We discussed it in the meeting held on Friday. We failed to communicate the work done by us to common people from the community. We have decided to rectify it,” Mr. Patil said.

The BJP leader further pointed out that Maratha leader Annasaheb Patil committed suicide in 1982 for the reservation, but the Congress did nothing for it for 13 years.

“The BJP established Annasaheb Patil corporation in 1995 after coming to power in the state. The BJP provided reservation to Maratha community in 2014, which was struck down by the Supreme Court when Uddhav Thackeray was the CM. After returning to power under the leadership of Eknath Shinde, we again provided separate reservation for the Maratha community.  Devendra Fadnavis separated reservation and concessions, and ensured that the Maratha community gets all the benefits provided to the OBC category. Despite all this, the community is upset with the BJP. We can rectify it by reaching out to the last man in the community,” Mr. Patil said.