After flak for cartoon, Sena pushes for special session to discuss Maratha 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 Delhimaratha silent protests Updated: Sep 30, 2016 00:40 IST
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 Shiv 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 also 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.”