The Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM), which has decided to take to the streets on August 9, finds itself in a bind. With majority of their demands raised last year having been enforced by the Maharashtra government, there seems to be a dearth of issues. The only issue which is unaccomplished is reservation to Maratha community, which is pending in court. Sources in the MKM told The Indian Express that there were two different views emerging within the organisation. “While one section believes the August 9 rally was ill-timed as reservation issue is before the court and state government cannot intervene, another group says that the rally was essential to keep the Marathas politically united and put the pressure on the government to expedite their demand for reservation in jobs and education,” said a member.
After a look at the charter of demands originally raised by the MKM, it seems all major decisions have been implemented by the state government. Senior cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil said, “The government is open to dialogue with the Maratha community on any issue they feel needs to be discussed. We are not against their rally, which is a democratic right.”
The foremost demand raised by the MKM was reservation to the Marathas. The state cabinet has given its nod to the decision. As many as 1,200 pages of documents have been submitted in court tracing the Maratha history and heritage to justify reservation to the community on the ground of being socially and economically backward. The ruling BJP, in its state executive meeting, adopted a resolution supporting 18 per cent reservation to Marathas.
The government also extended Rs 1,200-crore sops to students under Economically Backward Classes (EBC) by providing concessions and reimbursement schemes to those whose annual family income is less than Rs 6 lakh. The schemes benefited 7 lakh students pursuing studies in junior colleges, technical courses and professional courses such as engineering and medicine.
An MKM sub-group had wanted to include some more courses in the EBC schemes and it has been agreed to by the state government. The MKM’s other demands include implementation of the recommendations of MS Swaminathan Commission report. The agriculture reforms of the state government is founded on the commission report ranging from doubling farm production to providing higher remuneration to farmers by 2022.
Crop insurance, soil health card, crop pattern and MSP mechanism as recommended by Swaminathan Commission is detrimental to the state as production per hectare is very low.
As a result, the state has brought reforms in agriculture market committees to plug leakages. It intends to bring laws to make MSP mandatory for all farm crops this session. Of the total 11.40 crore population in Maharashtra, Marathas constitute 33 per cent and have always been the dominant ruling class.
The first rally of the MKM was held at Aurangabad on August 9 to protest against the killing of a 14-year-old Maratha girl by Dalit youths in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district on July 13, 2016. In the last one year, 50 silent rallies of the MKM across 36 districts of Maharashtra culminated in the state government taking ten major decisions to reach out to the Maratha community.
The Kopardi case has been put on fast track court with the government making it clear that criminals will be given the harshest punishment under the law. The state government has also provided additional mechanism to ensure the atrocities act was not misused by the Dalits/OBCs against the Marathas.