The apology tendered by Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray over an anti-Maratha cartoon in a party publication was “politically motivated” and “devoid of respect for the agitating community”, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane said on Monday.
“Uddhav’s apology was not genuine. It was more out of selfish political motives than respect for the Maratha community,” the former Chief Minister said at a press meet.
Last Saturday, the Sena chief publicly apologised for a cartoon published in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ that sought to lampoon Maratha protests.
The politically powerful community has been taking out silent marches all over Maharashtra in support of their demands that include reservation in jobs and education.
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The Sena’s mind is not clean in respect to the demands of Marathas,” said Rane, who headed the committee set up by the previous Congress-NCP Government that recommended 16 per cent reservation in jobs and education for Marathas.
“Seeing the massive morchas of Marathas and protest voiced by its own MLAs and MPs over the cartoon, Uddhav had no option but to apologise,” he said.
Ridiculing the Sena for demanding a special session of the legislature to consider economic criteria for quota, Rane wondered how could it be done given the matter is sub-judice.
“The state government is not serious about giving reservations to Marathas. After a month-long study of the prevailing social condition of Marathas, my committee had recommended 16 per cent reservation for them under an Article of the Constitution that empowers states to provide reservation to socially and educationally backward communities,” the Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman said.
However, the current Devendra Fadnavis Cabinet did not even discuss how to coherently present the government case on the issue in the Court. Ministers are taking different stands on the issue, he said.
“If the Government does not take any decision (on quota), it will be responsible for any consequences that may follow,” the Congress leader warned.
He slammed MNS President Raj Thackeray for demanding economic criteria for quotas. “Can the prevailing reservation (based on social criteria) be scrapped? Is it possible?”
Referring to the state cabinet meeting to be held in Aurangabad tomorrow, Rane wondered why prohibitory orders have been put in place in the city in Marathwada.
“If the Cabinet takes a definite stand on Maratha reservation or announces loan waiver for farmers then only it would show the Fadnavis Government means business. Just having a Cabinet meet in Marathwada doesn’t mean the government plans to provide relief to the people of the region.”