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Maratha Reservation Demand Catches Shinde Govt In A Cleft Stick, May Snowball Into Law & Order Problem

The Maratha reservation demand is likely to snowball into a major law and order issue for the Maharashtra government since lakhs of supporters of the agitation leader, Manoj Jarange Patil, have been asked to reach Mumbai in a walking march which is to begin from Saturday, 20 January. Patil has declared that an indefinite fast will start from 26 January if the demand is not met by then. Chief minister Eknath Shinde’s appeal to Patil in particular and the Maratha community in general not to agitate has not evoked much response so far. While Patil is firm on staging the protest march and fasting, the government has continued its efforts to avert any alarming situation in Mumbai or anywhere else in the state. Shinde has repeatedly assured Patil that the government is positive towards the demand and would adopt an enactment accordingly in February in the legislature. He has reiterated his promise that the reservations for other sections of society would not be affected while granting a reservation for the Maratha caste, the most influential group in Maharashtra’s politics. In response, Patil has challenged the government to present the data about delivering the caste certificates to the Marathas as belonging to the Kunbi community. If the government claims that 54 lakh such entries have been found, let it come with the statistics of actual grant of certification, he has challenged.