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Tensions Rise as OBC Leader Challenges Maratha Reservation Decision

Chief Minister and OBC Minister Clash Over Maratha Reservation Ordinance

January 29, 2024: In a surprising turn of events, the Maratha reservation issue, which has been a contentious topic recently, has sparked a heated disagreement within the Maharashtra government. On January 27, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde handed over the Maratha reservation ordinance to Manoj Jarange Patil, triggering a strong opposition from the OBC (Other Backward Classes) community. OBC leader and minister in the ruling Ajit Pawar group, Chhagan Bhujbal, openly disagreed with the Chief Minister’s decision, imposing fines against his own government.

Chhagan Bhujbal, in a media address on January 28, urged members of the OBC community to voice their objections to the government’s ordinance on Maratha reservation. Adding to the tension, he announced the organization of the OBC Elgar Mela on February 3, signaling a proactive stance against the government’s move.

Ajit Pawar, responding to the media’s queries in Kolhapur, clarified his position, stating, “Coworkers may have different opinions.” He emphasized the need for justice for all parties and highlighted the commitment made by the state’s leader regarding Maratha reservation. However, when asked about the aggressive stance of Chhagan Bhujbal, Ajit Pawar insisted, “In a democracy, everyone can have different opinions.”

Despite the differences, Ajit Pawar sought understanding, saying, “Devendraji Bhujbal and I will talk when we go to Mumbai. Give me time to discuss this matter with them.” He dismissed any misconceptions and assured that dialogue would take place to address the concerns within the party.

The situation escalated when journalists brought up Chhagan Bhujbal’s statement, suggesting that the government and the party must decide whether to include him. Ajit Pawar responded confidently, “I will take the decision, don’t worry,” concluding the matter for the time being. As the controversy unfolds, the political landscape in Maharashtra faces a challenging period, with the Maratha reservation issue at the center of the disagreement within the ruling coalition.

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