Former chief Minister Narayan Rane on Monday launched a scathing attack against the Thackeray cousins on the controversy surrounding the demand for reservations in education and jobs to the Maratha community.
The Congress strongman, who hails from the community, also fired a salvo at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, alleging that his government was ‘unwilling’ to accede to the popular demand.
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Rane’s offensive comes a day before the BJP-Sena government holds a special Cabinet meeting in Marathwada to soothe frayed nerves among the community members, along with the entire farming community in the region. After battling crop failures due to consecutive drought spells over the last three years, the farming community in the region is now complaining against that heavy rains over the last few days have led to massive crop damage this year.
An established Uddhav Thackeray baiter, Rane ridiculed the “unconditional apology” issued by the Shiv Sena executive president on October 1, following the row over an cartoon published in the party mouthpiece Saamana, which appeared to be mocking the Maratha community protests. “He (Uddhav) was forced to tender the apology only to serve his own political interest. The Maratha anger was boiling over the objectionable cartoon. Besides, Shiv Sena’s own Maratha MPs and MLAs were threatening to resign,” Rane quipped.
He claimed that Shiv Sena’s support to the Maratha agitation came only after the ground swell of supporters to the morchas brought out by the community.
Rane also threw barbs at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray over his stance on the reservation demand. “There has never been an expectation that Raj Thackeray would back the demand. How can one expect those who back controversial historian Babasaheb Purandare (his writings on Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji have invited wrath from sections of the Maratha community) to support the reservation demand?” Rane added. The Congress leader took another dig at Raj Thackeray, when he mocked MNS’s waning clout.