Political parties increase pressure on government 

ST Correspondent
Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Now, MLAs from all political parties, including Shiv Sena, BJP’s ally in the government, are demanding implementation of reservations to Marathas immediately. After meetings of MLAs with their respective party leaders, the Maratha agitation may spread to Muslims and Dhangar communities as well.

Mumbai: Even after the Devendra Fadnavis government’s attempts to address the issue of Maratha reservation, the agitation continues to rage.

Now, MLAs from all political parties, including Shiv Sena, BJP’s ally in the government, are demanding implementation of reservations to Marathas immediately. After meetings of MLAs with their respective party leaders, the Maratha agitation may spread to Muslims and Dhangar communities as well.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress MLAs have demanded that the government take a decision over reservation immediately and, while allotting reservations for Marathas, the government should consider Muslims, Dhangars and Mahadeo Kolis too.

The State Congress President held a meeting with party MLAs, where the MLAs demanded that there should be a policy for reservation and Muslims and Dhangars should also be included in the policy.
Congress MLAs and senior party leaders wrote to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to intervene in the matter of Maratha reservation and ask the State government to expedite its efforts for providing 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community. 

Congress MLAs on Monday offered to resign collectively as a mark of protest against the BJP-led State government’s ‘dilly-dallying’ on the issue of reservations for the Maratha community. The party MLAs, who met on Monday afternoon, also held a meeting with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao seeking his intervention in the matter.

“Party MLAs are very sensitive to emotions over the issue of Maratha reservation. We have not taken any decision on resignation of our MLAs. The party’s opinion has to be voiced inside the Assembly and the government must be made answerable for its delays inside the legislative house,” said Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) President Ashok Chavan.

In a memorandum to the Governor, the party said the government would be to blame if the law and order situation deteriorates if a decision on the quota issue is not announced immediately.

The Congress charged the government with ‘hoodwinking’ these communities. The absence of a decision has threatened peace and communal harmony in the State, the party said. Later in the day, a Congress delegation met Backward Class Commission Chairman Maroti Gaikwad, requesting him to submit his report at the earliest.

In the meeting with Ch Vidyasagar Rao, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the government is killing time under the guise of legalities. Ashok Chavan said the government is not willing to solve the issue; instead, they are keeping the issue burning. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said that the government failed to handle the situation. “Youths from the Maratha community are committing suicide for reservation and the government is not serious on it,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the NCP too held a meeting of its MLAs in Mumbai on the issue. The party MLAs too met the Governor and Gaikwad with the demand to speed up the process. NCP MLAs also demanded reservation for Muslims, Dhangars and Mahadeo Kolis.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also met party MLAs and leaders to discuss the issue at Matoshree, Thackeray’s residence in Mumbai. Thackeray said that the government should not wait for the Backward Commissions’ report and reservation should be implemented immediately. 

“While giving reservation to the Maratha community, reservation of other communities should not be affected,” Thackeray said. The government has to prepare a cumulative report regarding reservation and send it to the Central government, he further said.

“If all parties agree for reservation, then why is the government not taking responsibility and putting the responsibility on the High Court?” he asked. Uddhav further slammed the Fadnavis government and said that the government was not serious about granting reservation to Marathas. “The government must come out with an ordinance over the matter,” Thackeray said.

Marathas, a politically dominant community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the State’s population, have been demanding a 16 per cent reservation. The community members had earlier taken out silent marches across the State to highlight their demands.

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