The Eknath Shinde-led coalition government in Maharashtra finds itself grappling with mounting challenges as Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil announced an indefinite fast scheduled to commence at Mumbai’s historic Azad Maidan, beginning January 20. Addressing a massive rally in Beed, Patil asserted that three crore Marathas would unite in solidarity with his cause, potentially converging on the financial capital of India.
Originally setting a deadline of December 24 for the government to address his demands, Patil extended the timeline to January 20, citing the Section 144 order imposed by the Mumbai police until January 18. He has called upon protestors to enter Mumbai peacefully, emphasizing a stance against engaging in any form of violence.
However, the looming threat of a substantial gathering has prompted concerns regarding public safety and law enforcement. The Mumbai police enforced Section 144, restricting assemblies of four or more individuals. Yet, given Patil’s steadfast resolve, this order may prove insufficient in managing the potential volatility of the situation.
Patil had previously undertaken a fast in his native Jalna district, relenting only after senior ministers intervened. Presently, his stance appears unwavering, signaling a reluctance to compromise on his demands.
The prospect of a sizable assembly of Marathas in Mumbai has put the government on high alert, necessitating careful management of public order and security measures to avert any untoward incidents. The unfolding developments raise questions about the administration’s approach in addressing the demands of the Maratha community while ensuring peace and stability in the state’s financial hub.