Maratha leader Jarange-Patil’s health declines, administered saline (Ld)

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Jalna (Maharashtra), Feb 14 (IANS) As the health of Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil continued to slide, a medical team administered saline water to hydrate his frail body, here on Wednesday afternoon, even as protests erupted in different parts of Maharashtra.

On the fifth day of his fourth hunger strike since August 2023, Jarange-Patil has gone off water since Monday sparking concerns among the Marathas and his supporters who keep a vigil around him round-the-clock, at his village Antaravali-Sarati.

On Wednesday morning, blood was seen oozing out of his nostrils, which he wiped in a kerchief and his wife Soumitra rushed to the agitation site.

Many people sobbed and prayed for his health while activists raised anti-government slogans for ignoring Jarange-Patil’s deteriorating condition.

After much persuasion, he agreed to be administered saline but later said that it was given to him when he was barely conscious. While Jarange-Patil declared that “if anything happens to me, then hand over my body to the government”, his wife asserted that the state is insensitive and would be responsible if something untoward occurred to her husband, pointing fingers at Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the two Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

Meanwhile, Jarange-Patil’s threat to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the state if the Maratha quotas were not given has left Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling MahaYuti leaders fuming.

In a post on X, Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane said: “I do not consider him (Jarange-Patil) a Maratha leader. He has crossed his limits by warning not to allow PM Modi to come to the state. He will be shown the real strength of Marathas if he moves out of his place during PM Modi’s trip. Don’t cross your limit.”

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) President Prakash Ambedkar publicly appealed to Jarange-Patil to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from Jalna and assured his party’s full support.

Jarange-Patil has reiterated his demand to the state government to immediately issue a notification to formalise the draft notification of January 26, on ‘Sage-Soyare’ (family bloodline), and expanding the OBC quotas to include Kunbi-Marathas and Maratha-Kunbis. “The draft is not enough. It must be enacted into a law. What is the government waiting for? They should immediately take steps to convert the notification into a law. If the government fails to take appropriate steps by February 15, I don’t know what the Marathas will do. You have already witnessed what happened when they marched towards Mumbai last month,” he declared two days ago. Agitated Marathas and local organisations called for shutdowns (bandh) in several parts of the state including Pune, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Nashik, Beed and Jalna, with reports of minor violence from Nandurbar and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar.



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