The Shiv Sena on Saturday came out in support of transport minister and senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote, who had said new auto permits will be issued to only those who can speak Marathi.
“There is nothing wrong with what Raote announced. It is an existing rule that nobody was following. He has decided to implement it strictly,” said an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamna.
“We don’t need to give figures on how many autorickshaw and taxi owners in Mumbai are Maharashtrians, but nobody is issuing a diktat that those who are not from this state should leave. What is wrong in insisting that those driving public transport vehicles must know the local language,” said the editorial.
Raote had last week kicked up a controversy saying he would ensure one lakh auto permits are given only to those who can speak Marathi. The statement was severely criticised by Opposition parties.
“Local languages would not get justice in unless they become the medium of employment,” said the Sena mouthpiece. The editorial also criticised those who are making it an issue ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar since a large number of auto-taxi drivers are north Indians from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “Those who are resorting to politics over the autorickshaw permit issue are actually responsible for the backward status of states like Bihar,” said the Sena mouthpiece.