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Maratha quota: Prakash Ambedkar extends support to October 10 shutdown call

Dr. Prakash Ambedkar, of "Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi". File   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

While stating that the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) would back a shutdown called by Maratha outfits on October 10, its chief Prakash Ambedkar hit out at the two BJP MPs from the royal families purporting to represent the interests of the Maratha community.

Speaking in Pune, Mr. Ambedkar came down hard on Udayanraje Bhosale, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member from Satara and a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, calling him an ‘imbecile’.

Mr. Bhosale had called for all reservation to be abolished if the State government failed to ensure the implementation of the Maratha quota law. This irked Mr. Ambedkar.

Mr. Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, claimed that he had not read anywhere of either Udayanraje Bhosale or Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje – the BJP’s Rajya Sabha member from Kolhapur – expressing their support to the bandh called by Maratha outfits.

“I wonder how a ‘dolt’ like MP [Udayanraje Bhosale], who does not understand the Indian Constitution, was sent by the BJP to the Upper House… how can he demand for all reservation to be scrapped if the Maratha quota law does not get implemented in the State,” said the VBA leader.

Mr. Ambedkar said community leader Suresh Patil of the ‘Maratha Arakshan (reservation) Action Samiti’ (MAAS) had called him to demand support for the rally and shutdown.

“I have accordingly discussed the issue with my office-bearers and activists. We have decided to extend our support to the shutdown with the understanding that the Maratha community will not demand their quota from the pre-existing reservation for the OBC community as they are separate things,” said Mr. Ambedkar.

He cautioned that given the tense situation prevailing in the State over the Maratha quota issue, there was a distinct possibility that social harmony between the Maratha community and the OBC community could fray if the former insisted on getting their benefits from those already granted to backward communities.

Furious response to statement

Mr. Ambedkar’s comments on Mr. Bhosale evoked a predictably furious response from the latter’s supporters, who raised slogans against him in Satara.

“Mr. Ambedkar’s condemnable remarks are an insult to the Chhatrapati’s throne… Maharashtra will not tolerate such regrettable statements,” said Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Minister Shamburaj Desai, MLA from Satara.

Mr. Desai said both the descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji had clarified their position on reservation.

While welcoming the VBA’s support for the shutdown, Mr. Suresh Patil said Mr. Ambedkar’s remarks on Mr. Bhosale were “regrettable” and utterly unwarranted.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:50:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maratha-quota-prakash-ambedkar-extends-support-to-october-10-shutdown-call/article32805752.ece

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