Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday said that his government is committed to giving reservations to the Maratha community and appealed to Manoj Jarange Patil to end his hunger strike.
Speaking to reporters at the state guest house ‘Sahyadri’ after the all-party meeting, Shinde said, “We had a positive meeting, and I want to tell you that it is our priority to prove that the Maratha community is backward on social and educational grounds. We are giving first preference to it, and dedicated committees are working on it. Time should be given to the government,” adding, “The government cares about Jarange Patil’s life, and leaders have expressed concern about this health. We appeal to Patil to withdraw his hunger strike.”
Open to appoint agitators on the committee: Shinde
Shinde also informed that he had assured Patil, who has been on hunger strike in Jalna district for the past several days, that the Maharashtra government was entirely with the Maratha community. “We are open to appoint agitators on the committee. They wanted us to suspend three officers, and their demand has been accepted,” Shinde said further.
Jarange Patil Reacts
Reacting to CM’s appeal, Patil said that while he welcomes the government’s decision to suspend three officers and withdraw cases against the agitators, the decision to end his fast will be taken in the meeting of all concerned community leaders on Tuesday.
“It is not my agitation. I’m agitating on behalf of the community, and the community leaders shall decide whether I end the fast,” Patil said.
Asserting that reservations must be given to the Maratha community without affecting such facilities of other groups, Shinde asked opposition parties to cooperate with his government.
Concluding the media briefing, he said, “Sambhaji Raje gave excellent suggestions, and we shall definitely act on them.”
Leaders from various political parties, including officers from concerned departments, were present at the meeting.
Sambhaji Raje Bhosale leaves the meeting
Several leaders representing Martha organisations who had been pursuing the issue for the past several years were present outside the Sahyadri guest house. They protested for not being invited to the meeting. Sambhaji Raje Bhosale, however, left the meeting almost immediately after it started. He said he was going as his party had not been registered as yet.
“BJP is in power at centre as well as the state, and hence they can give reservation to the community whenever they decide so,” he said while interacting with media as he left the venue of the meeting.