Sena targets Pawar, cautions parties over stand on Maratha

marches Mumbai, Sep 20 (PTI) Shiv Sena today took a swipe at NCPsupremo Sharad Pawar over the ‘silent marches’ being taken outby Maratha community across the state, asking why his partydid not do anything to meet the demands of the community whileit was in power in Maharashtra and at the Centre. Leaders in Maharashtra have to decide now whether tocreate an understanding among people or fuel fire over thisissue, the party cautioned. The Maratha community, a dominant force in Maharashtrapolitics, has been taking out silent marches in various townsin the state over the last one month, following the rape andmurder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district two monthsago. The victim belongs to a Maratha community, while theculprits are Dalits. Also, in an oblique reference to the outside supportextended by the NCP to the BJP after 2014 assembly polls,the Sena aslo asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to bewary of "allies" trying to weaken his position. Taking potshots at Pawar, the Sena said his party,while in power for 15 years in the state, should have takenfirm decisions over issues being raised by the Marathacommunity. "The ongoing Maratha agitation is like a storm whichnobody in Maharashtra is capable of handling. Leaders inMaharashtra have to decide now whether to create anunderstanding among people or fuel fire over this issue," aneditorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. If Pawar thinks that the current Maratha stir is aresult of people’s lack of faith in the government over issueslike agriculture and reservation, his thinking is flawed, theSena said. "It was Pawar’s government in the state and at theCentre until yesterday, in which he was the AgricultureMinister for 10 years. The Congress and the NCP had theopportunity to take a decision on reservation for 15 years,"it said. "Why did they not take a decision then ? It would begood if the agitators understood this question. When Pawarsays the government should take a decision over the issue, heis conceding that they (NCP and Congress) wasted 15 years,"the Sena said. The ruling alliance partner futher said that the issueis being milked by vested interests and trying to make thechief minister vulnerable. "Never has a CM lost his chair due to morchas beingtaken out against the government. The CM only needs to makesure that this issue is not being used by allies to weaken hischair," the Sena said. Yesterday, the community members took out a huge’silent protest march’ ("Muk Morcha") at Jalna in Marathwada. Notably, in a move aimed at countering the silentmorchas of the Maratha community, the state government hadyesterday appointed Rajya Sabha member and heir of WarriorKing Chattrapati Shivaji, Sambhajiraje Bhosale as its tourismbrand ambassador. PTI MM GK NMRT

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