Updated: December 17, 2021 7:22:19 am
Moments after the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Maharashtra to hold bullock cart races, political leaders clamoured to claim credit on the issue. Outside the Supreme Court premises in New Delhi, BJP MLA Mahesh Landge celebrated the event in front of TV cameras, while former Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil joined his supporters at Manchar in Pune district. MP Amol Kolhe shared on social media and with TV channels his efforts in getting the races restarted.
Adhalrao-Patil said, “Eight years ago, because of my petition, the Supreme Court had first lifted the ban on bullock cart races. For 15 months after that, the races went on. The Supreme Court then once again banned the races. Even after this, I did not stop pursuing the matter. Not just in courts, but I pursued the matter in Lok Sabha too. I placed the matter in the Lok Sabha six times between 2014 and 2019. I even placed a private bill. I had met then Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and pursued the issue with him. The minister made amendments to the Animal Cruelty Act. However, the Supreme Court stayed the amendments after animal rights activists objected to the amendments. This again brought the bullock cart races to a halt.”
Adhalrao said after this, he organised a meeting of bullock cart owners with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “The CM promised to fight their case in Supreme Court with a strong legal team. It was because of the CM’s strong leadership and the MVA government’s efforts that farmers have a reason to rejoice,” he said, adding that he will organise the first race in Landewadi area. NCP MP Amol Kolhe also listed his efforts in getting the SC stay lifted.
In a Facebook post, his office said, “MP Amol Kolhe has kept his word given to the voters in his constituency. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, getting bullock cart races restarted was the top issue during campaigning. Kolhe has kept his word within two-and-a-half years… In Lok Sabha, the MP repeatedly raised the issue and sought lifting of the ban. He made studious arguments to draw attention of the House to towards the issue… “. To counter this claim, Adhalrao, without naming Kolhe, said,”Some people are rushing forth claiming that they did it, but is because of the consistent efforts and initiatives of bullock cart owners and farmers.”
BJP MLA Mahesh Landge also claimed that he and his party had pursued the issue. “In 2017, we made a law in favour of bullock cart races. Devendra Fadnavis was the chief minister who took the initiative. However, this law was challenged by the opponents. The Bombay High Court had stayed the law. The issue went to the Supreme Court which today decided in favour of starting the races,” he said.
Landge, however, said politicians should not take credit for the verdict. “The real fight was put up by bullock cart owners and farmers who are preferring to remain in the background while someone else is claiming credit,” he said.
Farmer leader Sadabhau Khot said, “If the MVA government is claiming credit for today’s SC verdict in favour of bullock cart races then it should also own the responsibility for failing to get reservation for Maratha community. The real initiative for getting the races restarted was taken by the BJP government which was in power in 2014.”
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