Sena is merely paying lip service to the Maratha reservation issue says Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
Leader of opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil attacked Shiv Sena for publishing cartoon in its mouthpiece Saamna and making fun of the Maratha agitation. Vikhe-Patil said that Sena is not serious about granting reservations to the Maratha community. He demanded that the state government should stop releasing advertisements to Saamna. Vikhe-Patil added that the saffron party has always been known for being anti-Dalit and Muslims and now they have also distanced themselves from the Maratha community.
He said, “By publishing the cartoon mentioning mooka morcha (kiss rally) instead of mook morcha (silent rally) Sena has hurt the sentiments of Maratha community. The party should understand that Marathas have organised a silent protest to demand reservations. Netizens and politicians have already condemned the cartoon.”
Vikhe-Patil also posted comments on social media and said, “The cartoon published in Shiv Sena has irked the Maratha community. Sena is merely paying lip service to the Maratha reservation issue. Uddhav Thackeray should tender an apology for defaming Marathas. The state government too should take action against the paper by blocking advertisements.”
Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar said, “The executive editor of Saamna should apologise for publishing the cartoon to insult Marathas. Through this cartoon the paper has hurt the sentiments of Maratha community. We extend our full support to Marathas and they should be granted reservation.”
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said, “By publishing cartoons, Sena has revealed its true colours and the party should apologise for insulting Marathas. They will have to pay a heavy price for it.”
NCP president Sharad Pawar said, “The state government must grant reservation to Maratha community at the earliest without affecting the quota percentage of other communities. Large number of youth has participated in the silent march held by Marathas.”
Meanwhile stones were pelted at a printing press of Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon. According to the police, the incident of stone pelting occurred at Saamna office, Sanpada where about three glasses of the outer wall were broken and damaged. A pro-Maratha social organisation, ‘Sambhaji Brigade’, later claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We are condemning a cartoon which was published in Saamana. Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Saamana’s executive editor Sanjay Raut must apologise to the women of Maharashtra,” the brigade’s spokesperson Shivanand Bhanuse said.
“The attack was spontaneous and an expression of emotions of the Maratha community,” he said.
Maratha Mukh Kranti Morcha activists had burned the copies of Saamna newspaper in Buldhana and Jalna. They have already warned the government that the agitation may turn violent if the government turns a blind eye towards their demands.
Datta Chavan an activist of Maratha Mukh Kranti Morcha said, “Saamna has hurt the sentiments of Maratha community by publishing the cartoon. The newspaper must tender an apology for insulting Marathas.”