NCP backs Dhangar community’s demand for ST tag
NCP today threw its weight behind the members of Dhangar community demanding a Scheduled Tribe (ST) status
Mumbai: NCP today threw its weight behind the members of Dhangar community demanding a Scheduled Tribe (ST) status with the Maharashtra unit chief of the party, Sunil Tatkare saying that NCP is “committed” to give them reservation.
The Dhangar are a herding caste of people primarily located in Maharashtra.
“Taking into consideration the feelings of the Dhangar community members, we feel that their demand is justified and the NCP remains committed to giving them them the reservation with due respect,” Tatkare said while addressing reporters here.
Tatkare’s comment comes ahead of a protest march organised by the members of the Dhangar community here on August 1 in support of their demand.
The Dhangar Arakshan kriti Samiti members had began their protest at Pandharpur in Solapur district on July 15, culminating at Baramati on July 21. Since then, some members from all over the state have been camping at Baramati.
BJP core committee members from the state had already visited the protest site to extend their support.
NCP’s stand on the issue assumes significance in the run-up to the upcoming Assembly elections in the state wherein the Dhangar community has a significant presence in 78 out of 288 Assembly seats, including constituencies like Baramati and Madha–the strongholds of NCP.
The community raised the pitch for ST tag after the government sanctioned 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
Dhangars in Maharashtra now get reservation benefits under VJNT (Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes), which they say, is not enough.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan recently said that the state government will have to consider views of all community leaders before taking a call.
Interestingly, tribal legislators under the leadership of NCP minister Madhukar Pichad had earlier threatened to resign en masse if the Dhangars were included in the ST category.