EVEN as the Maratha community on Wednesday rejected the sops announced by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, it has emerged that members of the outfit disagree over the nature of agitation to be carried out to seek reservation. While one section has planned a ‘Maharashtra bandh’ on October 10, the key group of the Morcha is planning to hold a ‘Akrosh Andolan’ in front of the residences of leaders of the four major political parties on Sunday.
“On Tuesday, the state government announced that the benefits meant for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) will be extended to those from Socially and Economically Backward Category (SEBC). We are not in favour of these sops as already the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the Socially and Educational Backward Act, granting reservation to Maratha community in jobs and admisisons. EWS is already facing legal issues and the latest decision might also be challenged,” said Rajendra Kondhare, coordinator of Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation for reservation.
Kondhare said the Maratha community is seeking a concerted effort by the state government to get the SC stay vacated. “Getting the SC stay vacated on implementation of the SEBC Act should be the government’s top priority, not resorting to extending such sops when there is a possibility of those running into legal problems. The sops… those which have been announced, seem to be nothing but old provisions…,” he said.
Stating that the Maratha Kranti Morcha will extend cooperation to the state government to get the stay vacated, Kondhare said, “The state government should make efforts to remove all lacunaes in implementation of the sops that will benefit the poor from the Maratha community, otherwise such announcements will be misleading. ”
Kondhare said the Maratha community is insisting that the government should protect the reservation which the community has secured under Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4) of the Constitution.
The Morcha said the Supreme Court, while staying the implementation of the SEBC Act, had allowed the admissions that have already taken place. “It is the duty of the government to implement the Supreme Court’s directions. However, this does not seem to be happening. Colleges are not completing the admission process of Maratha students who are in a state of utter confusion. The government will have to take necessary steps in this direction. It should announce its stand on this aspect,” Kondhare said, adding that the government should also clear the confusion on police recruitments, where seats for Maratha youth have been reserved.
In another development, the Maratha Kranti Morcha seems to be a house divided as one section on Wednesday announced a ‘Maharasthra bandh’ on October 10 while the other section has announced a ‘Akrosh Andolan’ in front of the residences of people’s representatives from the four main political parties in the state — BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP.
At a round table conference in Kolhapur on Wednesday, some coordinators of the Maratha Kranti Morcha announced a ‘Maharashtra bandh’ to pressure the government to get the SC stay vacated and fulfill various demands of the community.
Suresh Patil, who presided over the conference, said, “The conference passed 15 resolutions putting forth various demands of the Maratha community. The key one among them is the responsibility of the government to get the SC stay vacated… Besides that, we have also made other demands. If our demands are fullfilled by October 9, we will not go ahead with the Maharashtra bandh. However, if the demands are not fullfilled, we will hit the streets on October 10”.
But the other section of Maratha Kranti Morcha, headed by Rajendra Kondhare, rejected the idea of a bandh. “We are not in favour of organising any bandh. If we do it, we will lose mass sympathy. The public support will not be in our favour,” said Kondhare.
Instead, said Kondhare, the Pune Maratha Kranti Morcha has planned an ‘Akrosh Andolan’ in front of the residence of MLAs and MPs of major political parties in Maharashtra. “The agitation will be held on Sunday and we will make them realise the actual situation so that appropriate action is taken at the state level,” he said.
Both the sections, however, have put forth similar demands, which include withdrawal of cases against protestors and actual implementation of the order in this connection, pursuing the Kopardi rape and murder case in the High Court, and increase in provision for Sarathi and Annasaheb Patil Mahamandal. “The government has appointed a sub-committee for pursuing the reservation issue. However, the committee has not been given financial and administrative powers. Such powers should be bestowed on the community,” said Kondhare.
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