Maratha leaders masqueraded as Kunbis, won municipal elections: Mrunal Dhole
32-year-old activist Mrunal Dhole Patil has been fighting against misuse of reservations. He has filed complaints with the office of the district caste certificate verification committee against 35 members from the PMC and PCMC. Ashish Jadhav speaks to Mrunal Dhole on his activities.
What is your intention behind filing complaints against those who contested and won the civic elections from seats reserved for the OBC?
I personally feel this is injustice to the original OBC community as political bigwigs belonging to the Maratha community from all parties claim to be Kunbi, a caste categorised under the OBC, contest from seats reserved for the OBC community. Considering the scenario in western Maharashtra, especially in Pune, members of the Kunbi caste mostly came from outside Pune while Maratha community members from the city obtained the Kunbi caste certificate by managing officers in the Social Justice Department to avail reservations for the OBC. According to data I have procured from the PMC, there are 18 elected members cutting across party lines, who originally belong to the Maratha community and have contested from seats reserved for the OBC community. Similarly, 17 newly elected members originally from the Maratha community, contested from seats reserved for the OBC in Pimpri Chinchwad.
These members do not have any matrimonial alliances with the Kunbi community. Yet, they have obtained the Kunbi certificate and won the elections from OBC seats.
How do you plan to take this matter to a logical conclusion?
It is true that my complaints are against political heavy weights. I have no doubts that I will expose them with documentary proof that I have gathered to push my case. NCP’s Kishor Dhankawade’s disqualification is the first success that I have got. We have decided to approach the High Court also. We will leave no stone unturned to bring social justice for the original OBC, including the Kunbis.
You said the Kunbi certificate is issued easily. Have you brought this to the notice of the government authorities?
I have written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat and Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble about corruption in their departments. Since officers in the Social Justice Department issue the caste certificate without verifying the validity of the claims, we expect that Kamble should take action against such corrupt officers. I have approached the caste certificate verification committee against leaders including Chetan Tupe, former mayor Dattatray Dhankawade, Deepak Mankar, Suman Pathare, Dilip Barate, Haridas Charwad and former deputy mayor Prasanna Jagtap to name a few.