Maratha quota: Why did Fadnavis not accompany CM to meet Jarange in Jalna, asks Congress

September 15,2023

The Congress questioned why Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis did not accompany Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to Jalna and meet Maratha quota agitator Manoj Jarange on Thursday.

Jarange, who was on hunger strike since August 29 seeking reservations for the Maratha community, ended his stir at around 11:15am by drinking a glass of juice offered by Shinde.

Shinde, accompanied by some of his ministerial colleagues and other leaders, arrived in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district around 10.45 am and assured Jarange his government was committed to giving quota to the community.

Does Fadnavis support the promise given by Eknath Shinde to Jarange, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe asked.

He said it was good that Jarange had ended his hunger strike trusting the words of CM Shinde.

"When the CM goes to meet him it means the entire government is there. But the question is why didn't Deputy CM Fadnavis, who is the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the biggest party in the ruling dispensation, go with Shinde," Londhe questioned.

When Shinde went to Jalna to persuade Jarange to end his hunger strike, at the same time Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar initiated disqualification hearing against some legislators, Londhe pointed out.

Following this hearing, if 16 Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, are disqualified, then the important question is whether he will remain as CM, the Congress spokesperson asked.

"In such a scenario, if Eknath Shinde loses the chief minister's post, the BJP should not backtrack and say this was the decision of the previous government," Londhe said.

The state government comprises the BJP and factions of the Shiv Sena (under Shinde) and Nationalist Congress Party (led by Ajit Pawar) and while the CM went to meet Jarange, Fadnavis did not, he said.

Devendra Fadnavis should assure that the BJP will stand by the promise given by Eknath Shinde to Jarange, Londhe asserted.

The Congress stand is to provide reservation to the Maratha community without affecting such benefits of Other Backward Classes, Londhe said.

Narwekar on Thursday began hearing the disqualification petitions filed against each other by two rival Shiv Sena factions led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray.

The hearing began around 10.30 am at the Vidhan Bhavan - the state legislature complex in south Mumbai - and continued till around 2 pm.

A total of 34 petitions are being heard. Both factions are being represented by their respective lawyers.