Mumbai, Dec 20: The demand for Maratha reservation has reintensified in Maharashtra after the possible impact of Patidar agitation on the performance of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat Assembly elections. Posters demanding reservation for Maratha community and warning BJP government in the state on Wednesday appeared in Mumbai, days after the Gujarat Assembly election results.
The posters that have been placed in some areas including near Matoshree, the headquarter of Shiv Sena, reiterates the demand for Maratha reservation and warned the BJP government. In a veiled attack on the BJP, the message on posters roughly read, “You failed to make a century in Gujarat. If you don’t pay heed to Maratha reservation demand, you won’t even touch half-century mark in Maharashtra.”
The Maratha community has been demanding reservation in state-run educational institutions and government jobs since the BJP government came to power in 2014. In a show of strength, the community people took out several ‘mook morcha’ (silent procession) across the state under the banner of Maratha Kranti Morcha. The Kopardi rape and murder case further fueled the fire.
In August, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that a cabinet sub-committee would be set up to periodically review the issues raised by the Maratha Kranti Morcha and take necessary steps. However, it appears that Gujarat verdict is being used to pressurise the BJP government. The BJP on Monday just managed to hold on to power in Gujarat, edging past the half-way mark to clinch the sixth term in government. It bagged 99 seats, seven more than the magic figure of 92 in a House of 182.
Before storming into power, BJP closed up with Vinayak Mete, then a leading voice demanding reservation for the upper-caste community. The move was targeted to make successful inroads within the Maratha community, which forms 33 per cent of the electorate. The strategy seems to have backfired as denying their demand would mean losing the support of a large chunk of voters. In terms of vote to seat ratio, the outcome of Maratha votes single-handedly decide the results of 70 out of the 288 assembly constituencies of the state.