Maha Leader of Opposition Wadettiwar, Ambedkar meet striking OBC leaders

Jalna (Maharashtra), June 21 (IANS): Maharashtra's Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi President Prakash Ambedkar here on Thursday called on the striking OBC leader Laxman Hake and Navnath Waghmare and assured them of full support in their agitation.

For the past one week, Hake and Waghmare have been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike near a temple in Wadigodri village, and their health declined further on Thursday.

Both the visiting leaders offered them a glass of water, while a visibly emotional Wadettiwar -- himself a senior Congress OBC leader -- dialled Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde from the venue and apprised him of the situation of the striking leaders.

Hake is a former Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission member, while Waghmare is the Samata Parishad district president, and both have stopped eating food since June 13.

Shinde reiterated to Wadettiwar, who kept his phone to a microphone, and the striking leaders that the government would not dilute the OBC quotas while deciding on the Maratha reservations and promised to send an official delegation to meet them on Friday (June 21).

Wadettiwar reminded the Chief Minister that while he makes assurances, his own Bharatiya Janata Party minister Girish Mahajan has said that the issue of 'sage-soyare' (bloodline) will not survive in the court, and its because of the faulty policies of the state government that two major communities are now standing against each other.

Hake has repeatedly demanded a written assurance from the MahaYuti government assuring that the state would not disturb the existing 29 per cent OBC reservation while deciding the quotas for any other community.

In February this year, a special session of the state legislature unanimously passed the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Economically Backward Bill, 2024, paving the way for 10 per cent quotas for the Maratha community.

However, Shivba Sanghatana chief Manoj Jarange-Patil has been demanding that the state should declare Marathas as 'Kunbis' and grant them a separate quota from the OBCs, plus give reservations to 'sage-soyare' (bloodline) that would widen the scope of reservation.

However, prominent OBC leaders from different parties, including Wadettiwar (Congress), and Food & Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal (Nationalist Congress Party), are strongly opposing the watering down of the OBC quotas to accommodate the Marathas.



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Title: Maha Leader of Opposition Wadettiwar, Ambedkar meet striking OBC leaders

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