After taking the entire state in its stride, the Maratha Kranti Morcha rallies are all set to come to an end. The last in the series will be organised at Nagpur on Wednesday. Like the earlier ones, the organisers are anticipating a huge turnout for the last rally as well.
Sources said that the organisers have booked two eighteen coach rakes and several buses to ferry supporters to and from Nagpur.
Though the organisers are confident of mammoth turnout for the rally, political leaders are not so sure about the claim. Especially, after the developments that have taken place over the last four months in the state. The political games played over this period are all set to impact the attendance in the rally, believe politicians.
Earlier, as per the plan, the final rally was to be organised in Mumbai, where the organisers expected that around one crore people from across the state would turn up. But it has been changed now and the rally at Nagpur on Wednesday would be the last one.
The significance of the rally in Nagpur on 14 December is that the state legislature is in session there. After the recent developments in the political corridors, the last rally will also decide the commitment of Maratha people to the cause with which the movement began.
The right moves
In a highly clever political move, the state government has filed an affidavit at the Bombay High Court in support of the Maratha reservation. The government has also carried out a study of the issue and probable solutions so that it stands the test of law.
"Unlike earlier the government, we carried out a study of the Maratha community in Maharashtra. Task was given to the reputed Gokhale Institute at Pune. The researchers at the institute have done a remarkable job and come out with a massive report that enlists the problems faced by the community as well as their solutions. With the help of the report, we are confident to win reservation quota for Maratha community," said a senior minister who did not wish to be named.
The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, informed the Legislative Assembly last week that the government was committed to the Maratha demand. He presented the line of action to be taken in this regard to the House.
The organisers of the Maratha rallies are also deeply affected by demonetisation that led to acute shortage of currency. It has not only hit the routine life, but also hit the organisers hard, who depended on the cash flow to organise the rallies.
The outcome of the recently conducted Municipal Council and Nagar Panchayat elections in Maharashtra has shocked everyone.
Despite the fiery campaigns against demonetisation and the hue and cry about the hardship being faced by poor people due to it, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to emerge as the single largest party increasing its tally remarkably.
Contrary to what the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders had anticipated, the Maratha unrest has not gone against BJP. Considering the overall situation in Maharashtra, the organisers of the Maratha rallies too are sceptical about the turnout for the Nagpur rally.
"The developments in last four months have certainly hampered the movement. "Earlier, millions of people would turnout for the rallies even with a one line message on social media. Now the situation has changed. We will have to work hard to mobilise people to participate in the Nagpur rally," said senior Maratha leader, who is part of the core group that organised the rallies across the state.
All the previous rallies have been city and district specific. But the Nagpur rally is not like that. Marathas from across the state can participate. "This the only hope we have to see a gathering of around 25 lakh people at Nagpur. People from neighbouring states such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh are also expected to participate," he added.
All in favour
As far as BJP is concerned, the leaders are happy that the recent announcements by the state government and the affidavit filed at the Bombay High Court have paved way for consolidation of the party in the state and at the same time, the Opposition is now biting dust.
"Though we anticipate considerable turnout for the Nagpur rally, it will not be a problem for the government. The assurance given by the CM has already pacified the Maratha community. The anger was never against the government as it was projected by the Congress and NCP leaders," said a senior BJP leader.
"The announcement by the state government about Maratha reservation and the beginning of trial in the Kopardi gang rape case with the primary demand of death penalty to the accused, has served the purpose. These two decisions have certainly defused the situation," said the leader, on condition of anonymity.