On Wednesday, a silent march in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, kicked off a statewide campaign in support of the Maratha reservation. Politicians, state government ministers, and elected representatives marched from Shahu Samathi Sthal, the resting place of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj in Kolhapur, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati.
Similar protests will be staged in Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati, and Raigad in the coming days, according to Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, and a march from Pune to Mumbai in August if the demands are not realised by then. Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, who described the platform as apolitical, also urged demonstrators to keep silent while public officials spoke to them. He requested that the state government take quick action to restore the reservation and offer its advantages to the surrounding community.
BJP state president Chandrakant Patil, minister of state for home and Kolhapur’s guardian minister Satej Patil, minister Hasan Mushrif, minister of state Rajesh Yadravkar, MPs Sanjay Mandalik and Dhairyasheel Mane, and MLAs Prakash Awade, Chandrakant Jadhav, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’
Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati has filed review and curative petitions in the Supreme Court against the May 5 order abolishing the Maratha quota, as well as a plea to the Centre seeking reservation from the central list and the establishment of a state backward class commission. In the impending monsoon session of the state assembly, he has also requested that elected legislators from all parties press for the quota demand.
“The state government is ready to hold talks with the community leaders. I invite Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati for a meeting with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and other senior ministers on Thursday. We are very positive over the steps that need to taken by the state government,” Minister Satej Patil said.