Udayanraje Bhosale targets MVA govt. over failure to secure Maratha quota

Wielding influence: Udayanraje Bhosale is a descendant of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.  

Udayanraje Bhosale, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, on Sunday hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, accusing it of adopting delaying tactics which has ensured that the Maratha quota law has not yet been implemented in Maharashtra.

Mr. Bhosale, a former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and direct descendant of the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, censured NCP chief Sharad Pawar, without naming him, for failing to implement the quota for the community despite being hailed as a stalwart Maratha leader in the MVA government.

“This long delay [in getting the Maratha quota law implemented] seems to be an attempt to repress the Maratha community and deny it its true rights. However, I do not speak as a member of my community but on the basis of the principle of equality that was advocated and practised by King Shivaji which ensured justice for every caste and community in Maharashtra,” said the Rajya Sabha MP from Satara.

He said all communities except the Marathas were given reservations under the Mandal Commission when V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister in the early 1990s. Mr. Pawar was the Congress chief minister of Maharashtra at the time.

In a thinly veiled criticism of Mr. Pawar, Mr. Bhosale warned that those leaders in whom people had reposed so much faith for all these years would not vote for them anymore if they failed to champion the cause of the Maratha community.

“Some leaders [read Mr. Pawar] have been given the title of ‘Maratha Strongman’… people have respected them for all these years. But make no mistake, the very people will pull them down as today they stand in danger of losing this faith among the Maratha community because of their inaction over implementing the Maratha quota law,” he said.

The BJP MP questioned why leaders like Mr. Pawar had failed to take the initiative despite his party being part of the ruling government. “The people have lost patience and will question such leaders,” he said.

Criticising the State government for failing to make progress in the Maratha quota issue, Mr. Bhosale said the Maratha community was disgruntled that the MVA government’s lawyer had ‘missed’ a hearing on the quota issue in the Supreme Court.

In contrast, Mr. Bhosale heaped plaudits on former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, remarking that it was only during his chief ministership that a law was enacted to give reservation to the community. Mr. Bhosale said the Maharashtra Public Services Commission exams should be conducted now by keeping aside seats that will be part of the Maratha quota as the issue was now being heard in the apex court.

Earlier, Mr. Bhosale had demanded that if the MVA government failed to get the Maratha quota law implemented in the State, then reservation for all communities ought to be scrapped. He had called for a merit-based approach instead.

A maverick politico known for his hell-raising antics, Mr. Bhosale was earlier with the NCP. He joined the BJP before the Lok Sabha elections last year, only to be trounced by the NCP’s Shriniwas Patil. The storm of the Maratha agitation throughout 2018 saw Mr. Bhosale cast in the role of a possibly important mediator between the community’s interests and the then BJP government. Mr. Bhosale had chaired a ‘Maratha Parishad’ in Pune in August 2018.

However, a council on the Maratha quota issue that was to be held in Pune last month under Mr. Bhosale’s leadership was abruptly cancelled. He had also skipped a ‘round table’ conference in Satara that was held soon after. The Maratha Kranti Morcha has warned that they would stage a march to Mr. Thackeray’s residence, Matoshree, if the government fails to resolve the impasse.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:52:58 AM |

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