Taking a swipe at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the ongoing Maratha quota issue, Shiv Sena on Saturday asked him to give his post to his junior minister, Pankaja Munde, for an hour so that she could approve the contentious reservation proposal.
The Sena’s jibe comes ahead of an all-party meeting on the issue and after Munde, who is the state minister for rural development, and women and child welfare, took a swipe at Fadnavis while speaking to Maratha protesters at Parli in Beed district earlier in the week.
“Had the file of Maratha reservation been on my table, I would not have delayed it even for a moment.” she had said.
Responding to this, Sena in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, asked why Fadnavis couldn’t do what Pankaja Munde could.
“If Pankaja Munde can take a decision on the Maratha reservation, then she should be unanimously made the chief minister for an hour so that the reservation file is cleared,” it said.
The Sena said that Munde said that she is ready to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the reservation issue.
“Then why doesn’t chief minister Fadnavis go to New Delhi to meet the Prime Minister and resolve the issue,” the editorial asked.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena also attacked Modi, saying he is often out of the country and “has no interest left in the issues of the country”. Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna has questioned both state and central government over the issue. It accused both the Fadnavis and Modi governments of ignoring the demands out up by the Maratha community.
"Why can't CM Fadnavis go to Delhi, meet the Prime Minister and find a solution to the Maratha reservation issue. PM Modi he is not interested in matters related to the state and the country as he is often not in Delhi. To crush protests has become the policy of the government," Saamna said in its editorial.
In the all-party meeting of group leaders on Saturday, the Sena is likely to corner the government over the reservation issue.
The editorial said that the issue is giving “sleepless” nights to Fadnavis.
“Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said that the chief minister works till the wee hours. It may be true because if he blinks, then Pankaja Munde will sign on the reservation file,” it said in another jibe, adding that Fadnavis should “search the file and take the demands of the Maratha community ahead”.
Meanwhile, CM Fadnavis on Saturday called for a special session of the Maharashtra legislature to pass "a law or a resolution" regarding reservation for the Marathas. Fadnavis appealed for peace in the state, rocked by violent protests over the quota issue this week, and announced the withdrawal of certain cases against the members of the community, seeking a 16-per cent reservation in government jobs and education.
The wave of protests by Maratha groups has put the Fadnavis government in a tight spot. While the BJP has been stressing that the state government is committed to honour the demands of the Maratha community, the Opposition has accused CM Fadnavis doing nothing and letting the situation go out of control.