Maharashtra government agrees to Maratha reservation demands after hunger strike

government agrees to Maratha reservation

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, has finally conceded to the demands of social activist Manoj Jarange, who was on a hunger strike for more than a week to press for Maratha reservation in the state. Jarange, who represents the Maratha Kranti Morcha, a group of Maratha reservation activists, called off his protest on Saturday, after the government assured him of fulfilling his demands. Jarange broke his fast in the presence of Shinde, and both of them addressed a joint press conference later.


The Maratha community, which constitutes about 30% of Maharashtra’s population, has been demanding reservations in education and government jobs for a long time, claiming that they are socially and economically backward. In 2018, the previous government of Maharashtra had passed a law granting 16% reservation to Marathas, but it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2020, saying that it violated the 50% cap on reservation imposed by the Constitution. The court also said that the Marathas were not a backward class and did not deserve reservation.

Since then, the Maratha community has been agitating for the restoration of their reservation, and demanding that the central government amend the Constitution to make it possible. They have also staged several protests, rallies, and bandhs across the state, demanding justice for their cause. Some of the protesters have also resorted to violence and self-immolation, expressing their frustration and anger.


Manoj Jarange, a prominent leader of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, started a hunger strike on January 18, 2024, at the CIDCO exhibition center in Navi Mumbai, to put pressure on the state government to accept his demands. He was joined by thousands of supporters, who camped at the venue and expressed solidarity with him. Jarange had put forward a list of demands, which included:

  • The government should issue certificates to all the Marathas who had applied for reservation before the Supreme Court’s verdict, and extend the validity of the certificates that had already been issued to them.
  • The government should extend the deadline for the Shinde Committee, which was set up to collect and verify the records of the Maratha applicants, by one year.
  • The government should issue a special ordinance to grant reservation to the relatives of the Maratha applicants, based on the records of one person in the family.
  • The government should provide free education to the Maratha students until they get 100% reservation in the state.
  • The government should reserve seats for the Maratha candidates in the upcoming recruitment exams for various government posts.
  • The government should withdraw all the cases filed against the Maratha protesters, including the Antarwali case, in which 59 people were arrested for allegedly vandalizing a police station in 2018.


On Friday, January 26, Jarange announced that if the government did not fulfill his demands by midnight, he would march towards Mumbai on Saturday and sit on a hunger strike at the Azad Maidan. He had also warned that he would not end his fast until he got a written assurance from the government.

However, on Saturday morning, the government agreed to meet his demands and sent a delegation of ministers to the CIDCO exhibition center to persuade him to end his protest. The delegation included Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, and Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde. They handed over a letter to Jarange, assuring him that the government would take all the necessary steps to implement his demands.

Jarange accepted the letter and announced the end of his protest. He said that he was satisfied with the government’s response and thanked Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for doing a good job. He said that he would drink juice from the hands of the Chief Minister and end his fast. He also appealed to his supporters to maintain peace and harmony in the state.

Maratha activist, Manoj Jarange

Jarange then broke his fast in the presence of Shinde, who had arrived at the venue to meet him. Both of them hugged each other and exchanged greetings. They then addressed a joint press conference, in which they expressed their gratitude to each other and to the people of Maharashtra. Shinde said that he respected Jarange’s struggle and that his government was committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the Maratha community. He also said that he would urge the central government to amend the Constitution to enable Maratha reservation. Jarange said that he was hopeful that the government would keep its promise and that the Maratha community would get justice soon. He also said that he would continue to work for the welfare of the Maratha community and the state.