Now, all-parties Maratha MLAs stage roadblock outside Mantralaya for quotas
This marks the third consecutive day of protests by legislators from various parties, both from the ruling MahaYuti and the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi.
In what is said to be an unprecedented development, around two dozen Maratha MLAs cutting across party lines staged a roadblock outside Mantralaya in a high-security zone to press for quotas to the community, on Thursday, 2 November.
This is the third consecutive day of protests by the all-party legislators -- from the ruling MahaYuti and Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi -- to press for the reservation demands and express solidarity with Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil who is on a rigorous hunger strike for the ninth day on Thursday.
The legislators raised slogans of ‘Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha’ and ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai’, gathered outside the state government headquarters at Nariman Point and squatted on the road briefly halting the morning traffic.
Later, they were detained and whisked off in vans by the Mumbai Police to the Azad Maidan police chowky, with no reports of any untoward incidents.
Nationalist Congress Party (SP) MLA Rohit Pawar reiterated the MVA demand for summoning a Special Legislature Session to discuss the issue in detail and finalise the Maratha quotas.
“Any reservation above the 50 per cent ceiling would require amending the Constitution, and the power for which vests with the Centre,” said Rohit Pawar, the grandnephew of NCP President Sharad Pawar.
He also observed that “when the ruling party legislators are compelled to stage a roadblock, it implies lack of communication with their own government”.
“What exactly will be achieved by such an agitation… The MLAs should build pressure on the government to give justice to the Marathas or go and join Jarange-Patil’s agitation in Jalna,” said Rohit Pawar.
On Wednesday, the all-party Maratha legislators had ‘locked’ up the Mantralaya main gate and the day before they staged a sit-in protest near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the state seat of power, followed by the roadblock on this day.
Maharashtra continued to witness sporadic protests in different districts as Jarange-Patil’s hunger-strike entered the ninth day and a government delegation was slated to meet him in Antaravali-Sarati village in Jalna this evening.