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Nagpur erupts against Maharashtra’s "anti-OBC" government

Similar protests were also held on Monday in the neighbouring Hingoli and Gondiya. A protest march of similar type was organised in Chandrapur on Sunday. Read More

Monday September 18, 2023 8:16 PM, ummid.com News Network

Nagpur erupts against Maharashtra’s "anti-OBC" government

[Vijay Wadettiwar is addressing the protesters in Nagpur on Monday. Also seen in the picture is former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh.]

Nagpur: Thousands of people from the Other Backward Class (OBCs) Monday September 18, 2023 staged a strong protest in Nagpur - the Winter Capital of the state, against the "anti- OBC" decision taken by the Eknath Shinde government.

Similar protests were also held on Monday in the neighbouring Hingoli and Gondiya. A protest march of similar type was organised in Chandrapur on Sunday.

The protesters were led by Vijay Wadettiwar, senior Congress leader and MLA Bramhapuri Assembly Constituency, who is currently Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra State Assembly.

Wearing yellow colour caps written with slogans and carrying banners and flags of the same colour, the protesters were shouting slogans warning, the state government should in no way touch the OBC quota.

The protesters said the government "should beware and not succumb to Maratha pressures" by indiscriminately issuing OBC Caste certificates to the community.

"Jo OBC ki baat karega woh Desh pe raj karega (Those who care for the OBCs will only rule in the country)", the protesters warned.

Among the protesters were a good number of women. Also seen in the protest was former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh.

Nagpur erupts against Maharashtra’s "anti-OBC" government

The protest march in Nagpur and the neigbouring cities was taken out days after Shinde government decided to issue OBC status to Marathas. They alleged that soon after the government’s announcement there was a rush to issue OBC certificate.

The Maharashtra government’s decision came after protests by Marathas, and hunger strike by Maratha activist Manoj Jarange who demanded that Marathas be granted Kunbi status, which effectively means their inclusion under the OBC quota.

Manoj Jarange observed hunger strike for 16 days before withdrawing it on the assurance of CM Eknath Shinde on September 14, 2023.

No sooner did the state government took the decision to grant Kunbi status to Marathas, OBCs started protests against the state. To intensify the OBC protest, Rashtriya Other Backward Classes (OBC) Mahasangh activist Ravindra Tonge started hunger strike on September 11, 2023 in Chandrapur opposing the attempt by the government to include Marathas in the OBC category.

"Why no government representatives, ministers or CM Eknath Shinde is coming to talk to the OBCs who are protesting since the past 10 days," Vijay Wadettiwar, one of the powerful leaders of the Congress in Maharashtra, asked.

Wadettiwar also urged the government to convene an all-party meeting - on the lines of a similar meet held for the Marathas – to discuss the reservations of the OBCs to the state government’s moves, and also discuss quotas for the Dhangars.

Wadettiwar called upon the government to display the same level of commitment to the OBCs as it had done for the Marathas last week when their leader Manoj Jarange-Patil had sat on an indefinite hunger strike.

Wadettiwar had on Sunday September 17, 2023 demanded either Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde or his deputies visit Chandrapur within two days to ensure that Ravindra Tonge, the OBC leader on hunger strike, calls off his protest.


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