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  Metros   Mumbai  23 Jul 2018  Maratha protest: CM Pandharpur trip nixed this year

Maratha protest: CM Pandharpur trip nixed this year

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMEY TIRODKAR
Published : Jul 23, 2018, 1:52 am IST
Updated : Jul 23, 2018, 1:52 am IST

His stand has come after incidents of burning down buses and protests in Solapur districts on Saturday.

Maharashra CM Devendra Fadnavis
 Maharashra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will not perform his annual puja at the Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur, on Monday. He took the decision in the backdrop of the smouldering Maratha agitation in rural Maharashtra. He also slammed a few organisations and parties for politicising the issue. Maratha and Dhangar caste protesters have threatened to not allow Mr Fadnavis to perform puja as he allegedly did not keep his word on reservations for their communities.

“A few organisations and a few people are trying to get their lives in danger. Police has tracked messages. In those messages, there are mentions of acts, which could lead to stampede. Such plans are condemnable and not in tune of progressive Maharashtra’s image. I have Z plus security but these 10 lakh pilgrims don’t have that. But if anything unwanted happens with these pilgrims then it will be bad for Maharashtra. So I have decided not to go for the puja,” said Mr Fadnavis on Sunday while declaring his decision of not going to Pandharpur. He added, “Those trying to use pilgrims for their own agenda can’t be called real soldiers of Shivaji.”

His stand has come after incidents of burning down buses and protests in Solapur districts on Saturday. Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is an umbrella organisation of Marathas demanding reservation, has started an agitation in the last few days. It is taking place in almost every district in the state.

The agitation has intensified after Maratha Kranti Morcha warned CM Fadnavis not to come to Pandharpur without implementation of decision for Maratha reservation.

Talking about Maratha reservation, Mr Fadnavis said on Sunday that his government is committed to keep its election promise. "The case is pending with the Bombay high court. As per direction of Bombay HC, we have formed backward class commission for its report on reservation. The first-appointed chairman of this commission unfortunately passed away so we have appointed another judge. He has started the procedure. Now, people know that the government can't take decisions unilaterally. Still, a few political parties and a few organisations are trying to create social tension . They are misleading people," said CM Fadnavis.

On recruitment Mr Fadnavis said: "With anticipation of Maratha reservation, we will keep 16% posts vacant in this recruitment. And once HC clears it, we will recruit candidates from Maratha community on those seats."

Meanwhile, the Congress has slammed Mr Fadnavis on Maratha reservation. "This government has tried to fool people on such issues with assurances. Now people have realized that and their anger against Mr Fadnavis is justified. He was asked not to come for such a traditional event," said state Congress chief Ashok Chavan.

Nationalist Congress Party's chief spokesperson has asked CM Fadnavis to introspect on people's anger. "You can't cheat people every time. Delay in Maratha as well as Dhangar reservation is actually betrayal by the BJP government. That's why the peaceful people of Maharashtra are angry," said Mr Malilk.

Tags: devendra fadnavis, maratha protest