Barely two months ahead of elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Dalit groups and other backward class communities are set to organise a ‘Bahujan Samaj Morcha’ in the city to demand protection of their constitutional rights. The rally is to be organised in the third week of January.
“All the communities who have got reservation benefits, Muslims, and others will take part in the morcha. In all, 85 per cent people of the society are expected to take part in it. It will be a historical morcha in Mumbai. Our rally is not against any community, but to show rights of the downtrodden who are always deprived of political power,” said Anandraj Ambekdar of the Republican Sena, while addressing the media.
Along with Anandraj, others present were RPI (Athawale) leader Avinash Mahatekar, Dalit leader Arjun Dangle, Congress leader Chandrakant Handore, BJP legislator Bhai Girkar, former Shiv Sena legislator Baburao Mane and others.
The Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharatiya Republican Party Bahujan Mahasangh will not take part in the morcha. “I’m not associated with it,” said Prakash Ambedkar. Earlier, he had opposed the organising of counter morchas to the Maratha rallies, alleging that the RSS was trying to create a rift between the two communities.
Some of the demands to be raised in the January morcha include making provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Act more stringent, giving quota to the Maratha community without dipping into benefits already given to Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs and nomadic tribes, including the nomadic tribes under the Atrocities Act and providing reservations to Muslims as per the Sachar Commission report.
The organisers said meetings about the morcha had been taking place for the past two months and the decision was taken after discussions with all social and political leaders.The morcha will be led by women.
“Various morchas have taken place in many districts across the state. We have contacted them and educated people from all the communities will be invited to take part in our morcha,” said Handore.
The morcha is that of Bahujan Samaj, and so leaders from all the parties have decided to come together for it, said Girkar.