Polarisation between upper caste and Dalit-OBC is increasing widely in the name of reservation. Marathas, too, have jumped into the reservation bandwagon and are demanding reservation in Maharashtra, thus, creating ripples in the political circles and sending the political parties in the state in a quandary.
Marathas have an upper hand in the state economy and politics and have been taking out rallies demanding quota. Simultaneously, the Dalit-OBC alliance, too, will hold silent morcha parallel to Maratha morcha.
Anil Mahajan, president of Maharashtra Malli (OBC) Mahasangh and organiser of the morcha, declared that there won’t be any compromise on existing quota limits due the demands of Marathas on reservation for education and jobs. “The Dalits and OBCs are not against reservation for Marathas. But it should be over the existing limit,” he added.
According to Ramrao Gwali, Dalit activist, unlike Maratha morchas, Dalit-OBC rallies will not be a show of strength due to financial constraints. But we are working to reach the message at the grassroots level. This coordination is happening only because of their political and economic power.
Dalit-OBC unity made a worry among congress and NCP camp, as parties fear that the ruling BJP would take political advantage. Out of 288 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra, Dalit and OBC community has an influence in nearly 180 seats across Marathwada, Vidharbha, north Maharashtra, parts of western Maharashtra and Konkan regions.
In the meantime, Maharastra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has made an effort to douse the agitation by increasing the upper limit of Economically Backward Class to Rs.6 lakh. He also announced extension of monetary benefits under this category to students from all castes.
At the same time, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pitched for reservation for Maratha community without diluting the quota for others. In past, anti-reservation campaigners turn into violent mob when they want to become the beneficiaries of reservation as happened in Jat reservation agitation in Haryana, Patiadar reservation agitation in Gujrat and Gujjar reservation agitation in Rajastan. Political power and capital matters than social conditions for all these kinds of agitation.