Turning down the idea of special session to discuss Maratha reservation mooted by the Shiv Sena, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said there was nothing left to discuss and the government should expedite the process.
NCP leaders said the legal groundwork for reservation was ready with the government and the decision could be taken on the lines of Tamil Nadu, which has caste-based reservation up to 69%.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the state must accept the demands as they (erstwhile Congress-NCP government) had done all preparations in the past, based on which 16% reservation was given to the community. “Nothing has been left for deliberation. Their demand is reservation, measures to stop misuse of Prevention of Atrocities Act and justice for the Kopardi rape victim. Why has no charge sheet been filed in the case even after so many days,” Pawar asked.
Pawar, who belongs to the community, denied that the protest was against any community and said the community wants no repeat of Kopardi case anywhere in the state. “The Kopardi incident should be treated like the Nirbhaya rape case, where nobody asked about the victim’s caste or community,” the NCP leader said.
The former deputy chief minister also targeted the Sena for alleged insult of the Maratha community by publishing a controversial cartoon in the party mouthpiece Saamana. Pawar also took a potshot at Saamana’s executive editor and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for not tendering an apology for the cartoon.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL POLLS
NCP leader 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.