“The govt. is seeking three weeks. I say, take a month, but address our demands”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sambhaji Chhatrapati has said that the silent protests to press for implementing the demands of the Maratha community leaders were being deferred as the the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government has sought three weeks to fulfil them.
“We are postponing our protests for the next 21 days to give the government the time needed to fulfil our demands. They [the MVA leadership] are seeking three weeks. I say, take a month, but address our demands properly… The State government seems positive about addressing them. During this period, we will be holding discussions with coordinators of Maratha outfits in various districts. If the government does not keep its word, then we will decide the next course of agitation,” said Mr. Sambhajiraje, speaking at the conclusion of his second silent rally (muk morcha) in Nashik district.
A royal from Kolhapur, Sambhaji Chhatrapati is a direct descendant of the Maratha warrior king Shivaji. The Rajya Sabha MP, who has been galvanising community efforts in the wake of the Supreme Court repealing the Maratha quota law, had announced a series of five silent sit-ins in various parts of the State.
While the State government is to file a review petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday, the immediate demands of the various Maratha outfits include the strengthening of SARTHI (Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute), giving more funds to Annasaheb Patil Mahamandal and setting up hostels or giving scholarships to the Maratha community students.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, an influential OBC leader who participated in Sambhajiraje’s protest on Monday, said that some people were attempting to create a social divide between the Maratha and the OBC communities.
Mr. Bhujbal said the recent protests by the OBC community were not directed against the Marathas and their reservation issue.
“There is an erroneous picture being painted by certain parties that the OBC community is against the Maratha community as it fears that the latter would eat into their reservation benefits. In fact, both the Maratha and the OBC communities are in dire straits. Let there be no animosity between the two. No one is upset about reservation for the Maratha community,” he said.
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