A viral video purportedly showing Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar apparently making flippant remarks about the Maratha quota agitation ahead of a press conference has enraged protesters and the opposition.
The video, shot before the commencement of a press conference after an all-party meeting on Monday on the demand for reservation for the Maratha community, shows Shinde asking the other two leaders, “We just need to speak and leave, right?” While Ajit Pawar promptly replies, “Yes, right,” Fadnavis is seen whispering in Shinde’s ear and pointing out that the microphone is on. Pawar is also seen indicating the same.
In reply to the viral video, CM Eknath Shinde issued a statement stating that “We condemn the attempt to wrongfully edit and mischievously circulate a video clip of me, Devendra Fadnavis, and Ajit Pawar. The state government is sensitive about this (Maratha) issue and has been the first to call an all-party meeting. Few opponents are purposely circulating the edited clip with our edited conversation and we condemn this.”
While some have stated that the state government appears to be unconcerned about the issues affecting people in the state, statements like these spreading across social media have created a mindset in the state that the government is not working for people.
“Such statements coming from the CM and Dy CMs of Maharashtra are not correct, and it appears they are not willing to give any reservation,” former Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh told Afternoon Voice. “Many protests are taking place in the state as a result of Dy. CM Devendra Fadnavis’ refusal to grant reservation to Marathas.”
“We are completely against these statements coming from the CM, as people have hopes and faith in the government, but if they are only not serious about these issues, then for whom are they working and what are the citizens supposed to do in this situation? That is a question,” said activist and petitioner Vinod Patil for the Maratha reservation.
Congress MLA P N Patil said, “Maharashtra does not have the entire authority for the approval of giving the reservation to the Marathas, as it comes from the central government. With such dialogues, it also seems that the government is trying to divert people from the actual issues that they are facing.”
Sunil Shinde, a Shiv Sena (UBT) MLC, said, “The state government is not serious and does not intend to give the Marathas reservation.” “They are only saying this for name sake.”
Following criticism from Vijay Wadettiwar, leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, regarding the leaked video, the chief minister provided clarification.
Wadettiwar said, “Every member of the Maratha community is protesting across the state in support of the Maratha reservation. Many protesters have given up food. It is seen that Maratha youth are trying to wake up the state government through various means. However, this government is only wasting time. On the one hand, society is fighting for life and death through peace; see how seriously this triple engine of the government is taking this issue. Society is looking at you now.”
“Before the discussion, we were talking at the place of the press conference. But our discussion was going on, saying, “Let’s talk on positive issues only, no political talk’. We said that we would leave after talking that much. Our discussion was ‘no political commentary’. But today an attempt was made to create confusion in Maratha society by removing the front and back words of those words. These efforts were made by disaffected people”, said Eknath Shinde.
Meanwhile, Shinde slammed the Uddhav Thackeray government, claiming that Fadnavis’ reservation could not be sustained. “All I can say is that when the Maratha community was granted reservation during the Fadnavis era, it was upheld in the High Court, but it did not survive in the Supreme Court. Eknath Shinde then said, “I do not want to talk about it today because of someone.
Watch the Video here: