State brings Maratha-linked bodies under deputy CM PawarUpdated: Jul 10, 2020 00:59 IST
After aggressive reactions and agitations from the Maratha community, the state government on Thursday brought two institutions related to their welfare under direct control of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and also released ₹7.95 crore towards pending fellowships of students from the community.
The state also announced restoration of autonomy of Sarthi (Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research, Training and Human Development Institute), the institute established for educational, social and financial development of the community.
Community members had held agitations across the state, demanding adequate financial assistance to Sarthi and restoration of its autonomy. They had also raised doubts whether the government was intending to shut the institute down. After their differences with Bahujan Kalyan minister Vijay Wadettiwar over releasing funds to Sarthi last week, Pawar convened a meeting with them at Mantralaya on Thursday. Besides Pawar and Wadettiwar, minority development minister Nawab Malik attended the meeting with community leader and BJP MP Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, Rajendra Kondhare and Vinayak Mete, among others.
Pawar, in a press conference after the meeting, announced the release of the dues of old funds meant for Sarthi with immediate effect. “Sarthi is governed by the Bahujan Kalyan department, while the Annasaheb Patil Financial Development Corporation is controlled by the skill development corporation. We have decided to bring both of them under the planning department for better management of funds. The autonomy of Sarthi will be restored soon as these decisions get the formal nod from the cabinet,” Pawar said.
Kondhare said, “Students from the community appearing for UPSC, MPSC and banking exams are funded by Sarthi, besides the fellowship given to PhD and MPhil students. The funds meant for these expenditures were not released by the government, leading to hardship of students. There were a few misconceptions among Maratha leaders about the functioning of the government. We are happy that all our demands were admitted by the government.”
A few community members resorted to sloganeering during the meeting as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, who is a direct descendant of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, was allegedly made to sit in the third row. An organisation representing the community also started an agitation in Aurangabad over the “humiliating treatment” meted out to their leader. The MP later clarified the agitation was out of misunderstanding and he was satisfied with government decisions.
A day after five Shiv Sena corporators from Parner municipal council in Ahmednagar district returned to their party on Wednesday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said their induction in the NCP was done out of misunderstanding. “During my tour to Baramati, I was introduced to the corporators by our local MLA Nilesh Lanke, saying they were independent corporators and wanted to join our party. Believing the MLA, I formally welcomed them by making them wear scarves with the party symbol. When I learnt that they were elected representatives of the Sena, I realised my mistake and decided to send them back to their party,” he said on Thursday.
Pawar said chief minister Uddhav Thackeray did not say anything to him and he shares cordial relations with his boss in the cabinet. Pawar said the corporators were planning to join the BJP. He also said that it has been decided not poach to workers from among the ruling parties.
The defection had led to tension between the Sena and NCP.