Amid the renewed agitation for Maratha quota, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said there was talk in the BJP of replacing Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a claim rubbished by the senior ruling ally as “rumour-mongering”.
Raut, a Rajya Sabha member whose party is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, said the present situation in the state is “worrying” and the state government has been “unable to tackle” it.
“(BJP president) Amit Shah and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi will take the final decision on changing the leadership in the state. But, talk of changing the chief minister is underway within the BJP,” Raut said.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari dismissed Raut’s claim, saying “Both the government and chief minister are doing a fine job and are stable. There are no problems within the party. This is just rumour-mongering by the Sena,” Bhandari said.
Raut also said the Shiv Sena has been supporting the Maratha community’s demand of reservation in government jobs and education from the very beginning.
“The BJP, too, had taken part in protests for the Marathas (for quota) when it was in opposition. Now, it’s the BJP’s responsibility to see how it can be done,” he said.
It is unfortunate that the government has “disappeared from the political scene”, the Sena leader alleged.
“The government should start a dialogue with the protesters and take some decision, because people have started supporting the protests. If it (the agitation) is not taken seriously, Maharashtra will pay a heavy price,” he said.
Successive governments failed to take the issue of Maratha reservation seriously, he said.
The government cannot run away from the issue, saying it is sub-judice, Raut stated, referring to the BJP-led dispensation’s argument that the issue of legality of a quota for the Marathas is pending before the Bombay High Court.