Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange on Tuesday urged the Maharashtra government to pass a bill to provide reservation to Marathas in the upcoming winter session of the state legislature instead of convening a special session for it.
Addressing a rally in Thane, the home turf of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, he reminded the government of the December 24 deadline he set before it to give reservation to the community, and said if the demand is not fulfilled by that time, then after that, the agitation cannot be handled by the government.
The government is left with no other option but to give reservation to his community, Mr Jarange, who has been leading the latest agitation to seek quota for the Maratha community in government jobs and education under the OBC category, said.
“The Maharashtra government can pass a bill in the upcoming session of the state legislature scheduled to be held from December 7. Instead of calling a special session, give reservation to Marathas in the coming session itself based on the latest (Kunbi) record findings,” he said.
The people whose records are not available, the formula of 2001 Reservation Act be applied to grant quota, he said.
CM Shinde has the capacity to take a decision on this, he said.
“The Maratha community will hold him in high regard if he does so…We do not force you, but we are confident that you will take a decision in favour of Marathas,” he said.
“If the reservation is not given by December 24, then we will decide our future course of action. From December 25, the agitation will become such that the government will not be able to handle it,” Mr Jarange warned.
Speaking at the Ram Ganesh Gadkari Rangayatan auditorium in the city, he also alleged that as the state government does not want to give reservation to Marathas, it was trying to divide society on caste lines.
“We have to wait till December 24 for the reservation bill to be passed. Till then, these are testing times for all of us,” he said.
The Maratha community has won 85 per cent of the quota battle and only the last part is remaining, he said.
“This is a critical phase and we have to remain alert. Maintain peace as there will be attempts to provoke you and divert your attention, but you should not fall prey to any such tactics,” he told the people from the Maratha community.
Warning the government, he said, “Do not not hold six crore Marathas to ransom. The community should be given its “rightful” reservation.
“When we gave a jolt to the government, the authorities found the Kunbi records of 32 lakh people. This will benefit around 1.50 crore people,” he said.
Without naming Maharashtra minister and Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, Mr Jarange slammed him saying he will have to face the consequences later on.
Mr Bhujbal, an NCP leader, has been at the forefront in opposing the demands of Mr Jarange to provide reservation from the OBC quota.
Mr Jarange said that due to the fast undertaken by him for the quota demand, he has become very weak physically.
“But do not go by my appearance. I can face any situation and hit back. They should keep this in mind. I do not get enough sleep and have to address several meetings. It is due to the wholehearted support of so many people from the community that I remain energetic,” he said.
Mr Jarange reiterated that he will continue to fight for the cause till he is alive.
“My only dream is I have to give something back to the people of the caste in which I was born. I want to see smile on the faces of the children of Marathas by getting them the rightful reservation. This will be the victory of the unity of Marathas and not of any individual,” he said.
On his arrival in Thane, Mr Jarange was given a warm welcome by Maratha organisations and members of the community.
At Majiwada junction, 11 JCBs were used for showering flower petals on him. Amid the beating of drums and other traditional instruments, a roadshow was taken out with Mr Jarange standing on a vehicle and waving at people.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)