Jalna, Sep 27 (IANS): Maratha pro-quotas leader Manoj Jarange-Patil has announced that he will embark on a 12-day tour of several districts in the state to drum up support for the cause of reservations for the community, here on Wednesday.
“I shall start on a mass-connect campaign to discuss the issue of quotas in jobs and education for the Marathas, explain to them my stand and get their feedback. My campaign shall start from Septenber 30 and end on October 11,” Jarange-Patil told mediapersons.
This is the first major action by the Maratha leader after he shook up the state politics, but finally called off his 17-day long hunger strike on September 14 at the hands of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and others who visited the agitation spot Antaravali-Sarati village in Jalna.
At that time, the harried state government had said it had accepted most demands put forth by Jarange-Patil, but had pleaded for more time to implement the Maratha quotas which could withstand any legal challenge.
The state also appointed a panel to go into the entire matter, considering including them in the OBC quotas for the Marathas, as sought by Jarange-Patil, but that promptly resulted in a flare-up and protests among various OBC groups in the state.
Jarange-Patil had also warned that if the Maratha quotas' demands were not fulfilled by the state government, then they would launch a relay-hunger strike and other forms of agitations all over the state.
Perturbed by the potential fallout of the issue in the upcoming Lok Sabha, civic and Assembly elections in the state, Shinde, Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar have repeatedly assured that the government is “fully committed” to give quotas for the Marathas without doing injustice to any other community.
The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (SP)-Shiv Sena (UBT) have also wholeheartedly supported the Marathas demand but cautioned that it should not be at the cost of the existing quotas for the OBCs, and sought suitable legal amendments on the 50 per cent ceiling for reservations.