The Shiv Sena on Saturday sought to embarrass its Bharatiya Janata Party ruling ally by suggesting that Pankaja Munde, a minister in the Maharashtra cabinet, be unanimously anointed as “Chief Minister for an hour to clear the Maratha quotas file”.
The Sena’s advice came after Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde — daughter of late Union Minister Gopinath Munde — created a political flutter in Beed by claiming on Thursday that “if the Maratha reservations file had come to her table, she would have cleared it in a jiffy, but the matter was now sub-judice”.
Willy-nilly targeting incumbent Devendra Fadnavis by his cabinet colleague’s statement, the Sena harped that if Munde is made Chief Minister for an hour, there would be no hurdles, she would sign the file in a wink, and the raging Maratha reservation issue could be resolved.
“Questions have arisen in the minds of the Marathas… whether the state government deliberately wants to keep the Maratha quota issue hanging… Has the CM been isolated on this matter?
“If Munde can do something as she claims, why not Fadnavis,” the Sena asked.
The Shiv Sena’s caustic comments came in an edit in the party mouthpieces “Saamana” and “Dopahar Ka Saamana” even as Fadnavis prepared to host an all-party meeting on Saturday afternoon to hammer out a solution to the vexed issue.
Elaborating on Munde’s statement that she would even approach Prime Minster Narendra Modi, the Sena asked why cannot Fadnavis also do the same.
“Modi is away from Delhi most of the time… He has lost interest in the problems of the country or the states… Many a times he is abroad. So Fadnavis must be wondering which wall to bang his head against after going there (to Delhi),” the edit said sarcastically.
Under such circumstances, the Sena contended that the government policy is “to simply crush all agitations”, as they did in Gujarat when Hardik Patel led the campaign for the Patidar reservations.
“Hardik Patel was arrested under serious charges of sedition and jailed after he led the Patidar agitation… But in Maharashtra, the entire Maratha community leadership is agitating so the state government’s problems have compounded. Otherwise, they would have tried to stamp it out,” the Sena said.
It said the Centre could have attempted to resolve the issue and save Maharashtra from the crises, but the Centre apparently has no solutions, so only Fadnavis alone, cannot be held responsible for the fallout of the Maratha stir.
“The BJP had given very big assurances before elections to grab power — to the Marathas, the Dhangars. Now it is payback time, and all those poll promises have to be fulfilled… This is the crux of the problem,” the Sena noted.
The need of the hour is for Fadnavis to take immediate measures to resolve these crises before they further escalate, the Sena advised.