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Maratha Agitation Fails To Consolidate Vote Bank Behind Any Particular Political Block

As the Maratha agitation in Maharashtra may have fizzled out, the political knives are out between Devendra Fadnavis and Sharad Pawar. The agitation was scuttled in the backdrop of allegations of financial kickbacks, secret midnight meetings and even conspiracies to kill Manoj Jarange Patil. While the BJP has fired all guns against the original Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, accusing him of being the mastermind behind the agitation and even hinting that the conspiracy was managed from Rajesh Tope’s sugar factory, Sharad Pawar has dared that he has nothing to fear and that no phone calls were made from him. Tope admitted that he had simply provided food and water to agitators from his constituency. Jarange Patil has hinted that leaders from all political parties would stand exposed in the SIT investigation, sparking speculation that the agitation had the tacit support from blocks within both the ruling and the opposition fronts. The Eknath Shinde government has been accused of deliberately playing footsie with Jarange Pati. All parties may have unanimously voted for 10% reservation for the Marathas in a special session of the legislature on February 20, 2024, but the aftermath of the agitation has led to a bitter fall out between parties eyeing the politically powerful bloc of Maratha vote bank. This vote bank continues to be splintered across parties and political machinations have failed to consolidate it behind any particular political block.