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Marathas hold ‘silent’ morcha in Nagpur, number of participants stood at around 50,000

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Nagpur : Marathas today organised a ‘mook’ morcha in state’s second capital here for reservation and other demands, corresponding with the winter session of the state legislature which is underway at present.

However, the number of participants stood at around 50,000 in contrast to massive rallies held earlier at various locations across state.

The march started at Yashwant Stadium in south Nagpur in noon and terminated near Vidhan Bhawan (legislature complex) after passing the main streets in Sitabuldi area.

A string of politicians across party lines, including legislators, participated in the march that culminated into a rally at T-Point near Assembly Hall where the winter session is in progress.

Apart from seeking 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes, Marathas want capital punishment for rapists of a teenage girl in Ahmednagar district and the amendments to the SC/ST Atrocity (Prevention) Act, which they allege is being misused to target the community.

From government, Revenue Minister Chandrakantdada Patil and Parliament Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde reached the venue, where they were apprised of the demands raised by Maratha community by the morcha organiser Madhukar Meherkar.

The prominent legislators who participated include Ashish Shelar, Ashish Deshmukh (both BJP),  Bharat Gogavale (Shiv Sena), Bhai Jagtap (Congress) and Vidya Chavan (NCP).

BJP Rajya Sabha MP and a descendant of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, Sambhaji Raje Bhosale, also joined the march.

The Maratha protests were low-profile for quite some time after demonetisation and first phase of local municipal bodies polls.

Marathas are politically and numerically strong community in the state, whose votes can swing the political fortunes of parties.

The decision of the previous Congress-NCP government to provide 16% quota in government jobs and education to Marathas was put on hold by the Bombay High Court. The blame-game is on between the ruling and opposition parties over the responsibility of the same.

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