Shiv Sena pushes for spe­cial ses­sion

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent


MUM­BAI:KEEN on show­ing its sol­i­dar­ity with the Marathas, af­ter ril­ing the com­mu­nity with a con­tro­ver­sial car­toon it pub­lished in its mouth­piece, the Shiv Sena on Thurs­day sought to meet chief minister Deven­dra Fad­navis to push for a spe­cial ses­sion of the state leg­is­la­ture to dis­cuss the Maratha pro­test­ers’ de­mands.

Se­nior Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai was to lead a del­e­ga­tion of all 12 Sena min­is­ters and min­is­ters of state in the govern­ment to meet the chief minister on Thurs­day evening. The meet­ing was, how­ever, pushed to Fri­day, with the chief minister hav­ing to leave for Delhi.

Desai said, “If we have a spe­cial ses­sion and all leg­is­la­tors put for­ward their views, es­pe­cially on reser­va­tions, the state will be able to pass a res­o­lu­tion and present it to the Cen­tre. The Atroc­i­ties Act too needs to be re­viewed. It is be­ing ram­pantly mis­used.”

Party chief Ud­dhav Thack­eray, soon af­ter the protest be­gan, had de­manded the ses­sion to dis­cuss the de­mands by the com­mu­nity, with spe­cial fo­cus on reser­va­tion.

The Marathas, com­pris­ing 32% of Ma­ha­rash­tra’s pop­u­la­tion, have been hold­ing silent protests across the state, press­ing for reser­va­tions in govern­ment jobs and ed­u­ca­tion, and re­view and amend­ment to the Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribes (Pre­ven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act, al­leg­ing its mis­use in the cur­rent form.

Un­til re­cently, the Sena had stayed away from di­rectly com­ment­ing on the Maratha protests or their de­mands. The party had to, how­ever, jump into fire­fight­ing mode af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial car­toon lam­poon­ing the Maratha protests left the Shiv Sena po­lit­i­cally iso­lated with lead­ers across par­ties, in­clud­ing from within the Sena, as well as a dis­grun­tled Maratha com­mu­nity crit­i­cis­ing it.

A day af­ter pub­lish­ing an apol­ogy by the car­i­ca­tur­ist in the party mouth­piece Saa­mana, the pub­li­ca­tion quoted Sena lead­ers speak­ing out in sup­port of Marathas. Saa­mana quoted Yuva Sena chief Aa­ditya Thack­eray say­ing, “The Shiv Sena has wiped the tears of drought-af­fected farm­ers of Marath­wada, go­ing door-to-door show­ing its sup­port. The Sena helped them. The party can never be against Marathas.”

The pub­li­ca­tion quoted Sena minister Ek­nath Shinde, say­ing, “The Sena has many min­is­ters, MPS and MLAS from the Maratha com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing me. It has the back­ing of the Maratha com­mu­nity and one should not pay attention to those try­ing to break the com­mu­nity’s unity.”


Ajit Pawar ex­pressed dis­con­tent over Congress’s de­ci­sion of an­nounc­ing two can­di­dates -San­jay Khodke and Satya­jeet Tambe -- for the en­su­ing leg­isla­tive coun­cil elec­tions.

Mak­ing it clear the NCP would not sup­port them, Pawar said the Congress should first take them into con­fi­dence be­fore tak­ing any steps re­lated to the elec­tions.

“NCP be­lieves sec­u­lar par­ties should come to­gether for con­test­ing up­com­ing polls. We will not sup­port any of the can­di­dates an­nounced by them ar­bi­trar­ily,” he said.

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