There seems to be a vertical split among organisers of the Maratha protests with one section on Monday alleging that the government is trying to divide the community to ensure that the Mumbai march does not take place.
Last week, Maratha protest organisers had said a rally would be held on January 31. But, on Sunday, a group from Mumbai said they were not sure about the date and a meeting in 15 days would be held to finalise it.
On Monday, a delegation claiming to be representatives of 43 Maratha organisations, met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis saying that holding a march on January 31 was not in the interest of the community. They also demanded restructuring of Shivaji Statue committee. The delegation submitted a charter with eight other demands. The demand of divesting their leader Vinayak Mete as in-charge of the Shivaji statue project was believed to be a BJP game plan.
On the other hand, the organisers, who announced the Mumbai rally last week, have reiterated that there was no change in the date and they also have submitted the route of the march to Mumbai police. They also alleged that it is an ‘orchestrated’ attempt by the BJP to divide the community. They claimed that the delegation which met the CM was never part of the rallies.
“There is no change in the plan of the Mumbai protest. The government is worried if the dissent among the community leaders would go against the ruling parties in the ensuing elections. The delegation met CM on Monday is headed by a person who is a BJP worker and today’s meeting was an attempt to divide us. The removal of Vinayak Mete from the committee overseeing the Shivaji statue project was an orchestrated demand,” Vinod Patil, one of the organisers said.
Vijaysinh Mahadik, who headed the delegation that met the CM, said the Mumbai rally was announced without consulting the Mumbai community. “We are meeting on January 15 to ascertain the further course of action about the Mumbai march. Holding the protest during the code of conduct may go against the recent SC order of not using caste and religion in polls,” he said. Mahadik added that Mete has failed to work in the interest of the community and that’s why they demanded his removal.