Can the development plank defeat caste-conflict in Maharashtra?

The root cause of all unrest in the state is the cry for more development to enable people to cope up with the growing challenges of urbanisation.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Published:October 12, 2016 6:06 pm
Maratha reservation, Marathas, Maharashtra, maharashtra Marathas, maratha protest, Caste conflict, caste conflict in Maharshtra, Devendra Fadnavis, Fadnavis, Maharshtra government, Maratha rallies, maratha rally, Maratha reservation, maratha quots stir, maratha agitation, Kranti Maratha Morcha, NCP leader, educations reservation, Maharashtra news, india news, indian express news The Maratha’s assertion at the grass-roots level in almost every district has set a counter political reaction. (Source: PTI photo/File)

Can the development plank break the caste conflict in Maharashtra? Can the development plank bring about social engineering of the forward and backward communities which have been increasingly polarised by the controversial Maratha reservation politics in Maharashtra? These are the questions staring the Devendra Fadnavis state government.

The root cause of all unrest in the state is the cry for more development to enable people to cope up with the growing challenges of urbanisation.

A week ago, the chief minister announced a Rs 49, 248 crore package for the development of the backward Marathwada region where the Maratha rallies received maximum support from the once politically dominant community.

The Maratha rallies demands are reservation for the community in education and employment and scrapping of the Atrocities Act which it believes is being misused by the Dalit against them.

At the end of two and half months, the main organiser of the Maratha rallies, the Kranti Maratha Morcha, has decised to put on hold its Mumbai rally till December, with an ultimatum that government should fulfill their demands for Maratha reservation in education and employment.

The Maratha’s assertion at the grass-roots level in almost every district has set a counter political reaction. The Dalits and Other Backward Communities (OBCs) are silently consolidating to make common cause against any dilution of their existing quota — Scheduled Caste 10.8 per cent and OBC 27 per cent, respectively. The scheduled tribes enjoy 8 per cent reservation.

On October 10, at Newasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, a rally took place where OBCs and Dalits came together for a show of unity. Similar reports of Dalit/ OBC joining hands are pouring in across districts of Marathwada, Western Maharashtra and the Vidarbha region.

The Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) president Prakash Ambedkar said, “Yes, the process of polarisation of Dalits and OBCs has already begun. Dalit/OBC unity is to protest against the growing demand to scrap the Atrocities Act by the Marathas.” He added, “The Dalits/OBCs also want to ensure that their reservation is not affected by the Maratha’s quota.”

In a candid admission, a Kranti Maratha Morcha leader on condition of anonymity said, “Maratha unity is bound to lead to some political upheaval. And it is natural that Dalits/OBCs who enjoy reservation will unite to ensure their quota is not affected.”

Now, the state government’s attempt is to cater to the root cause that led to the unrest amongst the Marathas and take remedial measures. And similarly, also address the apprehensions of the Dalits/OBCs.

Not surprisingly, the Marathawada package which was announced by the Fadnavis at Aurangabad, weighs in favour of rural sectors –irrigation, agriculture and allies industries and housing. The skill development centres at every district is another initiative to tap the educated youths for specialised technical training and open new avenues of employment.

At the Maratha rallies a sizable section was of youths from rural Maharashtra who complained against the failure of established cooperative sectors and education barons (controlled by majority Congress and NCP leaders) to provide them affordable education or job in their institutions.

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    Saurabh
    Oct 13, 2016 at 3:09 am
    What a irony, those who are not getting there demands fulfilled and are losing their dominance dominanceon all fields are calling others looser... LOL
    Reply
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      Saurabh
      Oct 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm
      Maharashtra will definitely developed, and Marathas support in development won't matter.
      Reply
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        Saurabh
        Oct 12, 2016 at 4:55 pm
        Ye maratha wale Kab tak rote rahege, band Karo Ye dramebazi.
        Reply
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          Saurabh
          Oct 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm
          Reservation on the basis of economic backwardness is actually anti merit. Why and how does a upper caste person becomes economically backward. Upper caste will have access to education, know how, contacts etc. They become economically backward because of laziness, gambling, drinking etc. After they become economically backward they want reservation. This is actually anti-merit.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;On the contrary caste based reservation is meritorious. A person scoring say 45%, but who studied in zilla parishad school, had no books, had to walk few miles to school, had to study in schools without proper teacher, family pressure to earn etc. is actually very intelligent. I would say that person is more meritorious than a person scoring 90% with good support system. Unfortunately Marathas paint a picture as if they are only propagating merit, but they are actually propagating anti merit
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            Saurabh
            Oct 13, 2016 at 4:40 am
            I'll, definitely.
            Reply
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              ANS
              Oct 12, 2016 at 6:58 pm
              When Banias, Jats and Gujjars can get reservations, why can't the Marathas?
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                Ashish Arya
                Oct 12, 2016 at 8:09 pm
                maratha community is only region.. hindu still living in india.. no one can deny maratha community role in current india or even past ancident india.. and i think their demand for reservation is right. whn govt only will appease a section of society ..y they can not provide reservation to maratha or any other. muslims rule this country 1000 yrs.. yet they have reservation in bengal. andhra. telengana. and also in some other states ..so govt shd make a cl like OBC which shd be EBC..and shd cover all economically backwrd ppl in tht
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                  Akashdeep Bohra
                  Oct 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm
                  Maratha community had their government for almost six decade , and they didn't complain. Now Brahmins are in rulling position so they have problem and what are they doing is begging to Brahmins for some favor, how pitiful.lt;br/gt;And who is scapegoat in this scenario is a dalit, who is the most marginalised and deprived cl of the country.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I wonder how a cl who claims to be of warriors doesn't have courage to take on powerful Brahmins but instead wants suppress the rights of socially and economically backward cl.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Reservations in India are given to backward cles not with the intention of raising their economic status but that of their social status so Marathas asking for reservation on economic criteria is not justified,also parameters to raise economic growth of people are different and that doesn't include reservation.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Lastly,People who claims Marathas are economicall backward should visit rallies of dalits and adivasis to understand what it really means to be a economically backward community.lt;br/gt;This rallies represent nothing but degradation of morals among larger section of Maratha community.
                  Reply
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