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Surprisingly, Maratha quota opponents got maximum votes in Marathwada: Fadnavis

Mumbai: On the day Maratha leader Manoj Jarange launched an indefinite fast seeking OBC reservation, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday asserted the Maratha community was granted quotas on both occasions by the BJP-led governments.

He also expressed surprise over the electoral success of those who had opposed reservations for Marathas since 1980 in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in the Marathwada region.

“Marathas were granted reservations by the BJP-led government on both occasions,” Fadnavis said following a party meeting where state BJP legislators passed a resolution reposing faith in him and seeking his continuance as party leader.

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The Maharashtra legislature in February had unanimously passed a bill providing 10 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs.

In 2018, the state government, then headed by Fadnavis, enacted a law to provide reservations to Marathas. Although it was challenged in the Bombay High Court, the law was upheld, but later struck down by the Supreme Court.

“It is surprising that those who opposed reservations since 1980 got maximum votes in Marathwada,” Fadnavis said without naming any individuals.

Political analysts believe unrest among the Maratha community members, as well as farmers and a lack of major development projects in the Marathwada region, contributed to the defeat of BJP-led Mahayuti candidates in the general elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party lost all four seats it contested in the region, including Jalna and Beed, where Union minister Raosaheb Danve and former state minister Pankaja Munde suffered defeats, respectively.

Out of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Marathwada region, the Congress won all three seats (Nanded, Jalna, Latur) it contested, while the Shiv Sena (UBT) won three (Parbhani, Osmanabad, and Hingoli) of the four seats it contested. NCP (SP) clinched the Beed seat.

Jarange has initiated an indefinite hunger strike demanding the implementation of the draft notification that recognises all blood relatives of Maratha community members as Kunbis.

He has denied allegations that Pankaja Munde lost the election due to his appeal to the community members.

Jarange accused Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis of obstructing the Maratha reservation process.

“Fadnavis conspired against the Maratha community,” he claimed.

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