The Congress-NCP on Tuesday boycotted the Maharashtra assembly proceedings during question hour in protest over the issue of loan waiver for farmers and reservation for dhangars.
The leader of the Opposition in the assembly and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said they were disappointed with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s reply on the agrarian crisis and would continue to agitate for a loan waiver both inside and outside the state assembly. NCP leaders, including group leader Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil, who came to the House wearing yellow turbans in solidarity with the dhangars, went on the offensive over the issue of reservation for the community.
Dhangars are a politically influential community in the state and make up nearly 10% of the state’s population. They have a strong presence in western Maharashtra and Marathwada and their leaders have been demanding ST status.Patil reminded Fadnavis that a year ago, as the then BJP state president, while on a visit to Baramati he had promised that if his party came to power, reservation for dhangars would be cleared in the first cabinet meeting.
“We are committed to giving reservation for dhangars, but we want to ensure it is done in such a way that it can withstand high court scrutiny. The reservation for Marathas and Muslims was rejected by the high court. We don’t want the same thing to happen with this reservation,” Fadnavis said. He also taunted the Opposition asking them why they couldn’t get this done in the 15 years of their rule. The Opposition staged a walkout together, saying the reply was unsatisfactory.
“BJP makes promises and forgets about them. When it was in the Opposition it had repeatedly asked for loan waivers for farmers. They had promised dhangar reservation but now the issue seems to have been forgotten,” Vikhe Patil said.