Irked by leading political party leaders trying to hijack their agenda, the Kranti Maratha Morcha core team wants to chart its own course of action for welfare of the community, including reservation in education and employment. A meeting has been convened on January 15 to decide the long term plan and the fate of its proposed rally in Mumbai on January 31. A senior KMM leader, on condition of anonymity, told The Indian Express, “Unfortunately, Maratha leaders representing all political parties are trying to push their individual agendas ahead of the crucial municipal corporation and zilla parishad elections on February 16 and 21.”
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The KMM core team is also upset with Sambhaji Brigade and other smaller groups taking to violence using their agenda and forum in various districts. Revealing the power tussle within the KMM, a body constituted to demand reservation for the community in jobs and edcuation, the senior functionary said, “The original agenda has been cast aside. The Maratha leaders of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena who are part of the organisation are trying to whip up a political agenda confined to polls.” The Maratha leaders of the BJP are also part of the organisation and often try to diffuse the anti-government agenda being pushed by the Congress, NCP and Sena, he said.
At its internal meetings, KMM leaders who are upset with the established politicians trying to hijack their movement have taken the decision to postpone the Mumbai rally.
“At the moment, our organisation stands divided. One section strongly advocates a mega rally in Mumbai ahead of polls. Whereas, the other section believes the rally will not serve any purpose as the government had already given its consent to the charter of demands proposed by them,” said one of the original KMM team members. KMM organisers who had elicited wide support from the students across Marathwada argued, “The increasing politicisation of the organisation has disappointed sizeable sections. The generation next which had supported us fear that established leaders across party lines are using them to serve their vested interest.”
It may be mentioned here that all the established leaders across parties such as former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan (Congress), former Deputy Chief Minister (NCP) Ajit Pawar, opposition leader (Congress) Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, BJP state chief Rao Saheb Danve, BJP ministers Chandrakant Patil and Sambhaji Patil Nilengekar, among others, have openly come out in support of the Maratha rallies in their respective districts in the last six months.
The decision to convene the Maratha rally was taken to protest the rape of a Maratha girl in Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on August 9, 2016. Successive rallies saw the organisation evolving a charter of demands including the Maratha reservation issue.
In the last two months, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a series of discussions with the Maratha delegates across districts to discuss their demands. Almost all the demands raised by the organisation have been agreed to by the government including reservation for Marathas. Fadnavis has also heeded the Maratha demand to set up a committee to find out how it can stop the misuse of the Atrocities Act. The government has submitted detailed affidavit in court to justify the reservation demand of Marathas. A PIL in court has questioned the Maratha reservation arguing it is politically, socially and economically a forward community.