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PTI Mumbai
Updated: 19-12-2018 13:14 IST

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

Maoist links.

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

Assembly polls.

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.)