Maratha morcha: Over 150 MLAs, MLCs set to join the march in Nagpur on Wednesday
The Maratha Kunbi Kranti Muk Morcha, on 14 December, will start from Yashwant stadium, Dhantoli and end at Vidhan Bhavan.
Nagpur: Perhaps history will be made in Nagpur on Wednesday. The Maratha Kunbi Kranti Muk Morcha, on 14 December, will start from Yashwant stadium, Dhantoli and end at Vidhan Bhavan. The organisers as well as the Nagpur police have made their preparations for the day. It is for the first time in Maharashtra that MLAs and MLCs from all parties have come together to take part in a morcha. Over 150 Maratha MLAs, MLCs and ministers are expected to take part to demand reservation for the Maratha community.
In 1960, all-party MLAs had come together for the cause of 'Sanyukta Maharashtra' (United Maharashtra). Since 2010, MLAs have staged agitations at Azad Maidan and Hutatma Chowk over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue, however, the number of legislative members taking part were less than 50. Political observer and senior journalist Abhay Deshpande pointed out that those were only agitations, but this time, over 150 MLAs, MLCs and ministers will take part in the march.
There are 288 MLAs in the state Assembly and 78 MLCs are in the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Of the 366 MLAs in the Lower and Upper Houses, 169 are from the Maratha community. Congress has 29 MLAs and MLCs from the Maratha community, BJP has 53, Shiv Sena 44 and NCP 43. The MLAs from all political parties attended the preparations for the morcha recently and finalised the programme.
More than 40 silent morchas have been successfully organised in 30 districts, neighbouring states and abroad. The morchas have received international recognition because of their discipline, cleanliness and non-violent method. More than 3-crore members of the Maratha community have taken part to voice their demand of 16 percent reservation in education and employment.
The statewide Maratha agitation started on 9 August from Aurangabad and this will be the last one. If their demands are not met by the state government, there will be a maha-morcha in Mumbai, although the date for it is not fixed.
Talking to Firstpost, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik confirmed that all party MLAs will be participating in the morcha. Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde will also join. Earlier, Sena MLAs had participated in the morchas that were organised in the districts. Sena has always been supportive of the cause of the Maratha community, he added.
Ashish Deshmukh, BJP MLA from Katol constituency, Nagpur told Firstpost that his party is with the Maratha community. "Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already taken a positive stand. I appeal to all Maratha MLAs across the party to participate in the morcha," he said.
Congress MLA from Kankavali, Sindhudurg Nitish Rane said that he will be joining the morcha along with former chief minister Narayan Rane. "The Congress government had given 16 percent reservation to the community, but the current BJP government could not provide proper documents to the court. It is the failure of the BJP government. They are only giving assurances to the community but are not serious about the Maratha reservation," he alleged.
Aashish Shelar, BJP MLA from Bandra who belongs to the Maratha community and is close to Fadnavis, told Firstpost that the party and the Fadnavis government are committed to the Maratha cause. Two months back, the BJP executive committee had passed a resolution in support of the Maratha community's demand of 16 percent reservation. He added that members of the Kunbi community from Vidarbha will also join the morcha.
Madhukar Mehkar and Dilip Khodke, two of the organisers, told Firstpost that over 25 lakh people joined the movement in March. On Wednesday, five girls will present the memorandum to the state government. Two special trains of 18 bogies each, thousands of buses and private vehicles from across Maharashtra will reach Nagpur on Wednesday morning. There are 18 cameras installed enroute and 25 community halls and marriage halls have been booked for the convenience of the women participants.
Calls for a fresh push for the demand have followed the Supreme Court's 5 May decision that held that total reservations cannot breach the 50 percent ceiling.
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