A day after Shiv Sena leader Hemant Patil announced his resignation as an MP in support of protestors seeking reservations for the Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs, two more legislators in Maharashtra followed suit.
Nashik MP Hemant Godse sent his resignation letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and appealed to him to grant reservations to the Maratha community as soon as possible. Laxman Pawar, the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from the Gevrai Assembly constituency in Maharashtra’s Beed district, also submitted his resignation in support of the cause, PTI reported.
Hemant Patil, the MP from Maharashtra’s Hingoli, had sent his resignation letter to the Lok Sabha secretariat on Monday. Hemant Patil and Hemant Godse belong to Shinde’s Shiv Sena faction.
The Marathas are a group of clans, historically comprising peasants and warriors but generally with an agrarian background. The community has demanded quotas in education and government jobs for decades, citing a decline in financial stability following agrarian distress. A series of massive protests were organised to press for the demand in 2017 and 2018.
These demands for Maratha quota resurfaced in recent months with activist Manoj Jarange-Patil launching a fresh agitation for the cause in September.
On October 25, Jarange-Patil started a hunger strike at the Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district after the 40-day deadline he had given to the Maharashtra government to implement the Maratha quota expired.
Politicians’ properties attacked
On Monday, a curfew was imposed in parts of Maharashtra’s Beed and Dharashiv districts after a series of incidents of violence and arson targeting properties of politicians and legislators, PTI reported. Internet services were also shut in Beed.
The house of Nationalist Congress Party leader Prakash Solanke in Beed district was set on fire by protestors seeking the Maratha quota, PTI reported, quoting the police. Solanke belongs to the Ajit Pawar faction of the party. The first floor of the Majalgaon Municipal Council building was also set ablaze and vandalised.
A group of protestors even barged into the residential premises and office of Nationalist Congress Party MLA Sandeep Kshirsagar in Beed city and set them on fire. The house of former state minister Jaydutt Kshirsagar was torched and pelted with stones.
A bus of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation was torched in Dharashiv district’s Omerga tehsil.
The police arrested 49 people in connection with the violence. No casualties were reported.
Traffic was also hit on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway as protests burnt tyres near the Navale bridge and blocked the road, reported ANI. Traffic movement was later partially restored.