Nursing Lok Sabha Wounds, BJP Could Be Hit By Maratha Quota Stir In Assembly Polls If Manoj Jarange Does THIS

    Nursing Lok Sabha Wounds, BJP Could Be Hit By Maratha Quota Stir In Assembly Polls If Manoj Jarange Does THIS

    The BJP, still licking its wounds inflicted from Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha elections, is staring at another huge hurdle as the state goes to polls later this year. The Maratha quota protest is an issue that could be giving sleepless nights to the party at the moment. The ‘Mahayuti’ government comprising the BJP, the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde), and the NCP (Ajit Pawar) passed the Maratha Reservation Bill in February this year, granting 10% reservation to the Maratha community in education and government jobs. But activist Manoj Jarange, who is spearheading the Maratha quota stir, wants the government to add ‘sage soyare‘ in its notification to recognise all Marathas as Kunbis in the list of beneficiaries under the OBC quota.

    Now, Manoj Jarange has threatened political action to press for his demand. He has said that if his demand is not met by July 13, he will field candidates, along with other social welfare groups, in the Maharashtra Assembly elections slated for October this year. He said he will field candidates in all the 288 assembly constituencies.

    READ ON ABP LIVE | Maratha Reservation: ‘Sage Soyare’ And Protests Led By Maharashtra Activist Manoj Jarange — Explained

    Can Manoj Jarange Hurt BJP’s Maharashtra Assembly Election Prospects?

    Earlier this month, Manoj Jarange suspended his indefinite fast after discussions with the government. He set a deadline of July 13 for the Eknath Shinde government to accept his demands, failing which he would launch a political campaign. He said he would conduct rallies from July 6.

    Jarange has demanded OBC certificates for all blood relatives of Marathas who are recognised as Kunbis. However, BJP leader and minister in the Eknath Shinde Cabinet, Girish Mhajan said accepting Jarange’s demand may not be legally possible. 

    If Manoj Jarange does not have his way and fields candidates in all 288 seats, the BJP could be seriously hurt. The Maha Vikas Aghadi, composed of the Congress, NCP (Sharad Pawar), and the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) is confident of winning 150 seats based on the Lok Sabha election results.

    ALSO READ |  No Ministry In Modi Cabinet, Shaky Position Within NDA — Why Ajit Pawar Future In Mahayuti Does Not Appear Bright

    Marathwada Holds The Key To Maratha Protests

    Marathas comprise over 30% of Maharashtra’s population. Most of the Maratha population is believed to be concentrated in the Marathwada region in eastern Maharashtra. The impact of Jarange’s protest could have been among the reasons why the BJP fared poorly in this region.

    The Mahayuti will be especially worried about the 48 assembly seats in the Marathwada region as its performance in the Lok Sabha elections was extremely worrisome. The Mahayuti lost 7 of the 8 seats in the Marathwada region. Among the losers was BJP’s five-time MP from Jalna Raosaheb Dadarao Danve Patil. Notably, Jalna was the epicentre of the Maratha quota protest.

    Ajit Pawar’s NCP is already carrying deadweight in the Mahayuti, with the RSS cadre unwilling to campaign for a ‘Pawar’. Moreover, the BJP faces discontent from Eknath Shinde‘s Shiv Sena over “unfair” Cabinet portfolio allocation and its Lok Sabha polls campaign strategy, which hurt the alliance.

    In such a situation, Jarange fielding candidates in the Maharashtra Assembly polls could pile on to the BJP-led Mahayuti’s woes in western India.

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