Quota politics and caste violence
took centre stage in Maharashtra during the year, which also
saw ruling BJP and Shiv Sena continue their blow-hot-and-cold
Marathas, who constitute around 30 per cent of the
state's 12 crore population, got 16 per cent reservations in
jobs and education after a protracted pro-quota agitation.
The Devendra Fadnavis-led government set up the State
Backward Class Commission which declared Marathas as socially
and educationally backward class citizens.
The previous Congress-NCP regime had granted 16 per
cent quota to Marathas, but the decision could not withstand
legal scrutiny. The Rane committee, which recommended the 16
per cent quota, lacked statutory powers, which the Commission
The Maratha quota decision has been challenged in the
Bombay High Court, even as the state government decided to go
ahead with its mega recruitment drive for 36,000 of the 72,000
vacant posts in various departments.
In July, Maratha quota protests turned violent in
Marathwada and spread across the state after a youth Kakasaheb
Shinde allegedly committed suicide by jumping in the Godavari
river in Aurangabad district.
On January 1, an event to mark the 200th anniversary
of the Koregaon-Bhima battle in Pune district in which the
British Army comprising Dalits defeated upper-caste Peshwas,
was marred by incidents of stone pelting and vandalism.
Several towns and cities in Maharashtra remained on
edge as Dalit protests against the violence spilled over to
Mumbai, with agitators damaging scores of buses and disrupting
road and rail traffic.
In September, the Pune police raided the premises of
rights activists in Maharashtra, Telangana, Delhi, Haryana and
Goa and arrested Vernon Gonsalves in Mumbai, Arun Ferreira
from Thane, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in
Haryana, and poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad for suspected
Police said the five were part of a conspiracy to
create unrest among Dalits and target Prime Minister Narendra
There was a thaw in the BJP-Shiv Sena relations
towards the year-end. After four years, Maharashtra Assembly
had a deputy speaker after the BJP offered the seat to the
Sena, move aimed at pacifying the bickering ally.
Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray travelled in
the same car after participating in an event.
The two saffron partners, who fell out before the 2014
assembly polls, have been in an uneasy relationship. The
acrimonious affair reached its peak during the Palghar Lok
Sabha by-polls in May when Sena fielded Shriniwas Wanaga, son
of BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga, whose death necessitated the
Political observers feel Uddhav Thackeray's Ayodhya
visit in November and his party's pitch for building the Ram
temple there is an attempt to beat the BJP at its own game.
In 2019, Maharashtra will vote for the Lok Sabha and
The Congress and NCP renewed their alliance this year.
NCP president Sharad Pawar took the lead in holding a Save
Constitution march in Mumbai and began a consultation process
with like-minded parties to join hands to take on the BJP.
Shiv Sena's opposition to the Nanar refinery project
in coastal Konkan region led to tensions between the saffron
Thackeray addressed a rally in Nanar and Industries
Minister Subhash Desai announced that he was scrapping the
land acquisition notification for the project. Fadnavis said
the minister had no right to do so but later announced that
the notification had been scrapped.
BJP president Amit Shah met Thackeray in June at the
latter's Matoshri residence in suburban Bandra.
After poll reverses in the Hindi heartland states, all
eyes will be on how the BJP handles the Sena.
The BJP-led state government declared drought in 151
talukas in 26 districts and sought Central assistance of Rs
7,962.63 crore for drought relief.
The government said it deposited Rs 17,000 crore in
bank accounts of 40.17 lakh farmers under the agri loan waiver
scheme. The Opposition countered this claim, saying the BJP
government had initially announced Rs 34,022 crore farm loan
The year saw farmers and tribals taking out long march
twice and also farmers going on strike to press for various
In October, a person was killed as a speed boat
carrying government officials, media persons and TV crew
overturned when they were on their way for a 'puja' at the
proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian
Sea off Mumbai coast.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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