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Maratha Morcha Approaching Mumbai, Acid Test For Government

Countdown has begun to handle the situation arising in Mumbai with regard to the massive morcha which is entering the commercial capital of India to demand reservations for the influential Maratha caste. Lakhs of supporters under the leadership of Manoj Jarange Patil have expressed determination to secure reservation. On the other hand, Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has once again appealed to the morcha organisers to wait for a Maratha caste census report that is being prepared now. After receiving the findings, the matter will be discussed in the state legislature in February to fulfil the assurance to grant the reservation, he has reiterated. While the morcha has been peaceful, the unprecedented response it has been receiving along the way is astounding. Thousands of bhakris and tonnes of rice and vegetables are prepared by many families voluntarily to feed the marchers. On the outskirts of Mumbai, the Agriculture Produce Market Committee has reserved its sprawling premises in Navi Mumbai by keeping its operations closed for Thursday and Friday to accommodate the gathering. Huge police deployments along the route and in Mumbai have been posted to handle the large crowds. The Republic Day celebrations all over will be taking place below the shadow of the morcha. Alarmed by the prospect of taking a slice out of its reservation quota, the OBC community has started gathering its forces to counter the Maratha show of strength. Their next move is awaited.