After cartoon controversy, Sena leaders speak in support of Marathas
The Shiv Sena’s cartoon controversy that riled the Maratha community, politicians and a section of its own leaders, coerced the party to expressly state its solidarity for the Marathas and demands of the community with a battery of its leaders speaking out in support.mumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2016 13:59 IST
The Shiv Sena’s cartoon controversy that riled the Maratha community, politicians and a section of its own leaders, coerced the party to expressly state its solidarity for the Marathas and demands of the community with a battery of its leaders speaking out in support.
A day after publishing an apology by the caricaturist, the party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, quoted Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray saying, “Shiv Sena has wiped the tears of drought-affected farmers of Marathwada, going house to house showing its support. Shiv Sena helped them. The party can never be in opposition to Marathas.”
Similarly, senior Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Subhash Desai assured that the party is pushing for reservation for Marathas.
“The cartoonist has apologised. The matter is now over. Shiv Sena is pushing for reservations for the Maratha community,” Desai said in Saamana on Thursday.
The publication also quoted Sena minister Eknath Shinde, saying, “Shiv Sena has many ministers, MPs and MLAs from the Maratha community, including me. Shiv Sena has the backing of the Maratha community and one should not pay attention to those trying to break the community’s unity.
The Marathas, comprising 32 per cent 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. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had demanded a special session of the legislature to discuss the Marathas’ demand for reservations as well as the atrocities act, saying party leaders will speak on the floor of the house. 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 criticising it and the Maratha community upset over the disrespect meted out to them.
The cartoon that upset the community was a three-paneled caricature published in the party’s mouthpiece on Sunday showing different types of protestors in the ongoing Maratha protest marches. One of them showed a man kissing a woman, playing on the words ‘mum morcha’ (silent protest) as ‘muka morcha’ (kissing protest). The cartoon got leaders from across political parties censuring the Sena for hurting Maratha sentiments, and stirred protests all over the state during which copies of Saamana were burnt, and the paper’s office was vandalised.