Mumbai: All eyes are on the all-party meeting by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde Monday evening here in an attempt to resolve the vexed issue of reservations for the Maratha community.
Building up pressure, the Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil, has gone off water and medicines on the 14th day of his indefinite hunger strike in Jalna.
The top leaders of parties from the ruling and Opposition have been invited for the meeting to discuss and hammer out an amicable solution to the issue.
Jarange-Patil reiterated that the Marathas are OBCs and the administration should publish a Government Resolution (GR) to the effect, and then implement it within one or two months.
Sunday evening, he issued an open appeal to the leaders of all political parties, urging them to adopt a positive stance and ensure that reservations in education and jobs are granted to the poor people in the Maratha community.
The government has said that though it is committed to giving reservations to the Marathas, they need more time to work it out in a fool-proof manner and have urged the striking leader to call off his indefinite hunger strike.
Meanwhile, Jarange-Patil’s demand has triggered strong reactions and counter-protests from the OBC community in Nagpur and other cities who are opposed to the move as it would be detrimental to their interests.
While supporting the Marathas’ cause, Congress’ Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar has supported the OBC agitation, and ruling Nationalist Congress Party (AP) Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said though he is not opposed to the Maratha quotas, it should not be at the cost of any other community.
Wadettiwar slammed the government for driving a wedge among the Marathas-OBCs who are now pitted against each other to safeguard their respective positions.
NCP President Sharad Pawar has reiterated that the Centre should hike the ceiling of quotas from the current 50 percent by 15-16 per cent to accommodate all other communities clamouring for reservations.
Adding to the government’s worries, now the Dhangar community has also gone on the warpath and demanded that its long-pending demand for quotas should be immediately accepted by the government and announced, failing which they would launch an agitation.