The Maratha community will organise its next rally in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday, as part of which a 6-kilometre march will be taken out from ISCKON Temple in Kharghar to Konkan Bhavan in CBD Belapur. “We are expecting over 5 lakh people from Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts. On culmination of the march, five women and five girls will give a memorandum to officials listing the community’s demands,” said Vinod Pokharkar, one of the organisers.
With similar rallies held in the hinterland having drawn huge crowds, there is speculation if Navi Mumbai, which does not have a huge Maratha population, will be able to attract similar numbers. To ensure a bigger turnout, the community has decided to keep the Navi Mumbai APMC shut on Wednesday. A major chunk of the traders and mathadi workers in the APMC are Marathas.
The community has been holding rallies across the state to demand reservation in education and employment, and scrapping of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. While officials are worried as the route for the rally is close to the Mumbai-Pune Highway, the organisers said they would not march on the main highway and would traverse through back lanes only.
Mega rally in Mumbai in Oct The Navi Mumbai rally will be followed by rallies in Nashik and Pune on September 24 and 25, after which a mega gathering has been planned in Mumbai in early October. Organisers said they were still formalising the date and planning to bring over 20 lakh people from across the state.