OBC leaders refuse to call off hunger strike after Shinde government’s appeal

The Asian Age.

India, Politics

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange reiterated that the state government was deliberately creating Maratha-OBC rift

Hake and Waghmare, who have been fasting since June 13, refused to halt their agitation and instead, demanded a written assurance from the government that the OBC quota won't be diluted. (PTI)

Mumbai: A delegation of Maharashtra ministers on Thursday met the OBC activists Laxman Hake and Navnath Waghmare and urged them to end their fast. However, both activists refused to halt their protests till the government gave in writing that the existing OBC reservation will not be disturbed. Meanwhile, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange reiterated that the state government was deliberately creating Maratha-OBC rift and vowed to continue his agitation for Maratha reservation from the OBC category.

The government delegation comprising ministers Atul Save, Uday Samant, Girish Mahajan and MLC Gopichand Padalkar met the OBC activists at the protest site at Wadigodri village in Jalna district. Newly-elected Shiv Sena MP Sandipan Bhumre was also present.

After meeting the activists, Mahajan also called up chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and made them tal k to the protesting activists. However, Hake and Waghmare, who have been fasting since June 13, refused to halt their agitation and instead, demanded a written assurance from the government that the OBC quota won't be diluted.

The two are opposed to Jarange’s demand over implementation of the draft notification that recognises Maratha community members as “Kunbis”, which is part of the OBC category. “The government should make its stand clear and cancel the “back-door entry to reservation through 54 lakh Kunbi-Maratha records,” Hake said.

The OBC activist also accused Jarange of arm twisting the government and trying to encroach upon the OBC quota. He alleged that Maratha youths were ending their lives due to confusion created by activist Jarange. “OBC leaders were singled out and their homes and businesses were attacked,” Hake said, referring to attacks on OBC politicians in Beed district.

Reacting to OBC protests, Jarange accused the Maharashtra government of trying to create tension between the Maratha and OBC communities. He alleged that eight-nine politicians are against the Maratha reservation and people will know their names at “right time”. “The government is thrusting new leaders to the fore and moving others aside to create a rift between the Maratha and OBC communities,” he said.

The Maratha activist said that his community will “sink (politically)” those trying to create bad blood between the two social groups. He also said Maratha leaders from all political parties should attend rallies held by the community in their respective districts. “If they don’t show up, the Maratha community will defeat them (in upcoming state assembly elections),” he added.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, BJP leader Pankaja Munde urged CM Shinde to meet the OBC protesters at the site of the stir. Agitators are seeking an inquiry into whether certificates were given to the Maratha community under political pressure, she said, adding the government must give an assurance that OBC quota will not be disturbed.

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