In a significant development, BJP leader Gopichand Padalkar has issued a stern warning to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, highlighting the potential for a protest within the ‘Dhangar’ community in Maharashtra, akin to the ‘Jaat’ protest that occurred in the country a few years ago. Padalkar, a vocal advocate for the rights of the ‘Dhangar’ and Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities, emphasized the need for immediate government attention to their concerns to prevent unrest.
Padalkar underscored that the ‘Dhangar’ community is seeking the resolution of its issues through constitutional means. However, he cautioned that if the government fails to address these concerns promptly, it could potentially lead to a ‘Jaat’-style protest within the state.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Shinde, Padalkar requested the immediate convening of a meeting to discuss reservations for the ‘Dhangar’ community and related issues. He specifically implored Shinde to appoint the highly regarded senior counsel, Kumbhakoni, as the permanent counsel for the ongoing ‘Dhangar’ community reservation case, which is currently pending before the Bombay High Court.
Furthermore, Padalkar urged the Chief Minister to conduct a thorough review of the allocation of funds for 22 policies aimed at benefiting the ‘Dhangar’ community, with a total budget of Rs 1000 crores. He stressed the need to align these policies with provisions for the Adivasi community, as certain policies have encountered implementation challenges due to budgetary constraints.
In addition to these demands, Padalkar called on Chief Minister Shinde to enact specific legislation for the protection of shepherds within the ‘Dhangar’ community. This legislation would not only safeguard them from attacks but also facilitate the allocation of grazing lands at minimal rates, addressing a longstanding concern of the community.
Notably, Padalkar proposed a financial allocation of Rs 200 crores for the development of the revered Biroba Temple at Aarewadi, a sacred site deeply significant to the ‘Dhangar’ community. Similarly, he recommended the restoration of the Vaafgaon fort, which holds historical importance as the birthplace of Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar.
The warnings and requests put forth by Gopichand Padalkar highlight the pressing issues facing the ‘Dhangar’ community and signal a call for immediate government action to address their grievances and prevent any potential unrest within the state. The response of Chief Minister Shinde and the Maharashtra government will be closely watched in the coming days as they grapple with these important matters.