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Maratha Quota Activist Manoj Jarange Suspends Indefinite Fast, Sets Deadline

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Activist Manoj Jarange today suspended his indefinite fast over the Maratha quota six days after launching it and set a deadline of one month before the Maharashtra government to accept the community’s demands.

He made the announcement after Maharashtra minister and member of Maratha quota sub-committee Shambhuraj Desai, Shiv Sena MP Sandipan Bhumre met him at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district and discussed the issue.

State health minister Tanaji Sawant and Ambadas Danve, leader of the opposition in the legislative council, also met Jarange at Antarwali Sarati earlier.

Addressing people at the protest site, Mr Jarange said, “We are giving a month’s time to the government to fulfil the demands of the Maratha community. But we will also go ahead with our preparations for the upcoming assembly elections. If the government doesn’t provide reservation to us, we will go and take it.”

“If the demands are not fulfilled in a month, neither the opposition members nor those in the government should come to us. We will defeat the candidates (in the state assembly elections) by declaring their names,” he said.

Mr Jarange, who had launched his fresh round of protest on June 8, has been demanding implementation of the draft notification that recognises Kunbis as “sage soyare” (blood relatives) of Maratha community members and also seeking a law to identify Kunbis as Marathas.

Kunbi, an agrarian group, falls under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, and Jarange has been demanding that Kunbi certificates be issued to all Marathas, thus making them eligible for quota benefits.

Talking to reporters after visiting Mr Jarange, minister Desai said that a meeting would be convened on Friday over the issue.

“Of the last five months, two months passed in following the model code of conduct (for the Lok Sabha polls). We will take a positive decision on the demands of the Maratha community in a month. If additional manpower is required to expedite the work, we will do so with the permission of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde,” he said.

If the chief minister had announced that they had accepted the demands of the Maratha community, then it was his responsibility to fulfil them, said Danve after meeting Jarange.

“The government fooled the community in Vashi by handing them over the draft notification (over Jarange’s demands). If the government has brought out a notification, a decision must be taken,” he said.

Minister Sawant said, “The agitation should end at the earliest. The government should take a decision quickly and give the Maratha community a chance to celebrate.”
 

 Activist Manoj Jarange today suspended his indefinite fast over the Maratha quota six days after launching it and set a deadline of one month before the Maharashtra government to accept the community’s demands.    

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