Condemning the protest held by a group of MSRTC workers outside NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence in Mumbai, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said it was a "big failure" of the police department and intelligence agencies, which he said should be investigated.
The former Maharashtra chief minister asserted he had said in the past that the issues of the striking Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers need to be put forth at an appropriate forum and the state government should respond to their demands.
A group over 100 striking workers of the MSRTC on Friday afternoon held a sudden and fierce protest outside 'Silver Oak', Pawar's two-storey bungalow on Pedder Road in south Mumbai. Caught unawares, the police struggled to rein in the aggressive protesters, including women, who raised slogans against the NCP supremo, with some of them even seen hurling their footwear towards his house. They alleged that Pawar has not done anything to resolve the issues raised by them.
"...One important issue arises (after the protest) that the entire media knew about the movement of the protesters. Some of my friends working in media told me yesterday that they had received messages (about the protest) at 2.30 pm. So the important issue is what were the police doing," Fadnavis said.
"People were moving towards the residence of such a big leader with planning, but the police did not have any idea! It is a big failure of the police and it should be investigated. How can there be such a big failure of police and intelligence when cameras (media persons) reach there in time, but police reach late," the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly said.
The entire visuals of the protest were horrific and the incident should be investigated, he added.
Employees of the state transport body, which has over 90,000 persons on its payrolls, have been on strike since November 2021. While Pawar-led NCP is part of the ruling coalition, the transport portfolio is held by Shiv Sena's Anil Parab.
The main demand of the striking workers is that the cash-strapped transport corporation be merged with the state government.
The protest came a day after the Bombay High Court asked the workers to resume duty by April 22.