During a visit by Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to Solapur district, members of a delegation advocating for reservation rights for the Dhangar community expressed their frustration by smearing turmeric powder on the minister. In response to this unique protest, Gopichand Padalkar, a prominent leader representing the Dhangar community within the BJP and a member of the Maharashtra State Council, sought to interpret the symbolic use of “Bhandara” (turmeric powder) as a positive gesture, representing the blessings of Lord ‘Khandoba,’ a deity revered by the Dhangar community.
Padalkar underscored that the fight for Dhangar community reservation is already underway in the courts, with the backing of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Consequently, he urged community members not to be swayed by the tactics of other political parties.
“We are already engaged in a legal battle for Dhangar community reservation in the high court, with the support of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” Padalkar stated. “Therefore, I implore all community members not to resort to such actions and not to be influenced by other political parties.” He suggested that the use of turmeric powder as a means of protest is acceptable, as long as it is conducted peacefully. Additionally, Padalkar asked Minister Vikhe Patil to view the “Bhandara” incident as a blessing from Lord Khandoba, as conveyed in a video statement released by his office.
Rakesh Bangale, identified as an activist in the Dhangar reservation movement, was the individual who applied turmeric powder during the protest. He emphasized, “The Dhangar community deserves reservation, and it should not infringe upon SC reservations. If the government does not promptly address Dhangar community reservation, we may resort to similar protests against the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Ministers.”
In response to the incident, Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil expressed his gratitude, stating, “I consider myself fortunate that ‘Bhandara,’ traditionally regarded as an offering or ‘Prasad’ of Lord ‘Khandoba,’ was applied to me. The incident occurred suddenly, and security personnel apprehended the individual. However, I have instructed the local police not to file any charges against him.”