States & UTs

    Dhangars up ante for quotas, throw turmeric powder on Maharashtra Minister

    Sunil Aswal
    September8/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    Maharashtra Minister

    Solapur (Mahrashtra): As the Maharashtra government grapples with the Maratha reservations issue, the Dhangars on Friday adopted an aggressive stance for quotas and threw turmeric on a Minister to press for their demands.

    Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil was the target of the turmeric attack by two persons at the government guest house, catching his aides and security unawares.

    Vikhe-Patil was reading a memorandum the duo had handed to him when one of them whipped out a packet of turmeric powder and emptied it on the minister’s head and face, even as some others clicked videos which went viral.

    As the aides and security caught the person, thrashed him and then handed him over to the local police, he was heard raising slogans demanding reservations for the Dhangar community.

    He was identified as a Dhangar Aarakshan Kruti Samiti member Shekhar Bangale, who warned that next time they would not hesitate to "blacken the face" of ministers or even the CM if the Dhangar reservations issue is not sorted out.

    Later, Vikhe-Patil sought to downplay the incident claiming that "turmeric powder is holy…and it’s a matter of joy", while assuring that the government is adopting a sensitive stand on Dhangar quotas issue.

    The Dhangars get quotas under the Vimukta Jati & Nomadic Tribes category, around 3.5 per cent, but they are on a warpath for quotas in the Scheduled Tribes group akin to the ‘Dhangad’ in other parts of India who are getting reservations under the SC category.

    They claim that a typo-error in Dhangad which made them ‘Dhangar’ has created the complications and they are being clubbed with the VJNT category in Maharashtra. The Samiti leaders have said that the Dhangars had reservations under ST category during the Nizam era, and that should be taken into account. Presently, of the 52 per cent quota in the state, SCs get 13 per cent, STs 7 per cent, OBCs 19 per cent, and VJNT, Special BCs and NTs account for the rest 13 per cent.

    Later, BJP Dhangar MLC Gopichand Padalkar said that smearing the turmeric on the minister is an auspicious gesture symbolising the blessings of Lord Khandoba, the community’s deity.

    Padalkar said the government supports the Dhangar cause and the matter is in the courts, and hence urged the community not to get influenced by the Opposition’s tactics.