Maharashtra govt invites Maratha leaders for talks on quota

BJP MP Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje Bhosale. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Even as Maratha quota agitators began a silent protest in Kolhapur district on Wednesday, the Uddhav Thackeray-led ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) government invited BJP Rajya Sabha member and royal Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, to hold a dialogue with the government to find a solution to the reservation demand.

The government was positive about resolving the Maratha community’s demands, senior Congress leader and Minister Satej Patil said. The MVA supported the stance adopted by the Maratha community leaders, he asserted.

Apart from Ministers Hasan Mushrif and Mr. Patil, all MLAs and MPs of Kolhapur, cutting across party lines, were present in the sit-in called by Mr. Sambhajiraje that saw thousands gathering in pouring rain.

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar participated in the rally, as did all top political leaders in the district, including BJP State president Chandrakant Patil, Congress’s Ruturaj Patil and Sena MP Dhairyasheel Mane.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sambhajiraje said, “The State government has extended an invitation for a discussion, which is welcome. But I will not go to Mumbai alone. The coordinators of Maratha outfits will decide who will go for the parleys”.

Deputy Chief Ajit Pawar had called him on June 4, proposing that they meet in Mumbai to discuss the issue. However, he turned down the suggestion, he stated.

“I told him [Mr. Pawar] that we [Maratha outfits] have made our demands and why should I meet you alone. Tomorrow, someone can point fingers and say that the agitation was ‘managed’ by backstairs intrigue. So, I said that a meeting can only take place in the presence of the Chief Minister and other ministers as well as chief coordinators of the Maratha community protests,” he observed.

Satej Patil’s call

Mr. Satej Patil said, “The government has already taken some steps for the welfare of the Maratha community and will take more steps as demanded by them. For this to happen, the government is ready to hold a dialogue. Mr. Sambhajiraje and other Maratha community coordinators should meet the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister in Mumbai. They are ready for a dialogue tomorrow itself”.

Whether it was about strengthening SARTHI (Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute), giving more funds to the Annasaheb Patil Mahamandal, setting up hostels or giving scholarships to the Maratha community students, the government had initiated steps in that direction. “The government spared no effort in meeting the demands raised by the community,” he claimed.

Mr. Mushrif urged parties not to play politics on the reservation issue. “The Maratha community is not demanding reservation in politics. It is demanding reservation in education and jobs. What is wrong in this? The community has suffered for long and their demands are just and reasonable. We should all extend our support to the community’s fight for reservation by keeping politics out of it,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:12:36 AM |

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