The Maratha demand for reservations in jobs and schooling returns to roil the state’s politics
BURNING FURY: Maratha Kranti Morcha members block the Pune-Solapur Freeway to protest the lathi-cost on their cohort in Jalna district, Sept. 6 (Photograph: PTI)
Seven years after the dominant Maratha group first launched a collection of silent morchas (protest marches) for their demands like reservations in jobs and schooling, the difficulty has returned to haunt politics in Maharashtra. Since 2016, round fifty eight ‘Maratha Kranti Morchas’—a few of them having tons of of hundreds of people joining them—have been organised in Maharashtra and neighbouring states. The agitation turned violent in 2018, additional beleaguering the then Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Social gathering (BJP)-Shiv Sena coalition. There was speculation that the Nationalist Congress Get together (NCP), which has a robust base among the Marathas and was then in the Opposition, had fuelled these protests to corner Fadnavis, a Brahmin. Nevertheless, the Maratha protests saw counter-mobilisation by the non-Marathas, particularly by the upwardly cellular different backward courses (OBCs), who felt that the Marathas would ultimately eat into their 27 per cent share of reservations. These groups organised ‘Bahujan Kranti Morchas’ throughout the state on comparable strains.