The Maratha Kranti Muk Morcha started simultaneously from two places in the city - Gandhi Maidan and Tararani chowk - around 11am. Since early morning, thousands of youths from the community gathered at the two starting points, filling the locations to the bring.
"The state has been witnessing rallies for strong action against the accused in the Kopardi rape case. The rally is our support for the victim's family," said Vanita Ghatage, who had joined the rally at Gandhi maidan.
Many youths spoke about the hardships they experience in the absence of reservation for the community in education and jobs. Raj Shinde, who is pursuing engineering degree, rued that they have to pay higher fees for professional courses compared to other students. "The fees for professional courses such as engineering are beyond our capacity. There is no reservation for Marathas in the government sector and we are deprived of jobs," he said.
Dipti Shinde, a medical professional from the Maratha community, said she had seen even her juniors at government hospital get permanent employment because they belonged to a particular caste. "I have been working in government hospital for last two years. Many of juniors from other castes got the permanent job, while I am still working on contractual system. The reservation should be given on the basis of economic status instead of caste," she said.
Youth also said that there should not be any reservation in the promotions given in a government job. They voiced their demand for the skill development institute for their community on the lines of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Reserch and Training Institute (BARTI).
"We have to face problems in promotions in government jobs. There should not be any reservation in promotions, rather they should be merit based," said Nilesh Patil, a youth who came to the city just for the rally.
Growing agrarian crisis in the state has also prompted concerns as the community is largely dependent on agriculture. Indrajit Khardekar, a young farmer from Danoli Jaysingpur village, said the government should be provided the Minimum Support Prise (MSP) to agricultural goods.
"The agricultural sector is in crisis. The Maratha community depends on agriculture for its livelihood. The government should implement the recommendations of Swaminathan commission to make farming sustainable," he said.