Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis invites leaders for talks as five MLAs resign over Maratha quota

So far, five Maharashtra MLAs have resigned over the Maratha reservation issue.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis invites leaders for talks as five MLAs resign over Maratha quota

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited party leaders of both houses for a meeting in Vidhan Sabha on Saturday over the ongoing agitation over reservation for Marathas.

Speaking to ANI, Chandrakant Patil, Maharashtra Minister, said, ''Law and order in state due to Maratha quota stir should be discussed by all. So, CM Fadnavis has invited party leaders of both houses for a meeting in Vidhan Sabha on Saturday.''

Patil made the statement after CM's meeting with state BJP leaders and ministers over the issue on Thursday.

After the meeting, CM Fadnavis said that his government was making "sincere" and "serious" efforts to grant reservations for the Maratha community in the state.

"Some Maratha leaders are trying to get political mileage from the quota stir," he claimed and exhorted BJP workers to ensure masses get to know about the government's efforts to bring about reservations.

Meanwhile, five MLAs have so far resigned over the Maratha quota demand.
Bharat Bhalke (Congress), Rahul Aher (BJP) and Dattatraya Bharne (NCP) resigned as legislators on Thursday, PTI quoted Maharashtra Assembly sources as saying.

Bhalke, who represents Pandharpur in Solapur district, said he was resigning to express solidarity with quota protests.

Talking to reporters, Bhalke said he had visited the family of Maratha activist Kakasaheb Shinde, who committed suicide by jumping into the Godavari in Aurangabad district on July 23.

"The sentiments of the Maratha youth are intense. There is lot of unrest over the lack of (job) opportunities. Promises made to them have not been fulfilled. I have decided to resign to express my solidarity with the Maratha quota protesters as well as in support of the demand for quota by the Dhangars and other deprived communities," Bhalke said.

"I am quitting membership of the assembly to highlight the unrest among the Marathas, Dhangars, Muslims and Mahadeo Koli communities," he said.

Bhalke said the Maharashtra government has stayed the previous Congress government's decision to allot quota for Muslims even though the (Bombay) high court had not passed any adverse comment on the Muslim reservation.

The Bombay High Court in 2014 stayed implementation of the Congress-NCP government's decision to provide reservation to Marathas. It also stayed the decision to provide five per cent reservation to the Muslims in government service, but allowed quotas for them in educational institutions.

Aher, who represents Chandwad in Nashik district, announced in Nashik city that he was resigning as MLA.

He handed over his resignation letter to Maratha Kranti Morcha activists who were fasting in protest outside the district collector's office.

"Please treat this letter as my resignation. Whenever required, the Maratha community members could hand it over to Assembly Speaker," he stated.

Yesterday, Harshvardhan Jadhav (Shiv Sena) and Bhausaheb Patil Chikatgaonkar (NCP) from Aurangabad district had offered to resign in support of the quota demand.

Jadhav, who represents Kannad assembly constituency, submitted his resignation letter to the office of the Assembly Speaker on Thursday morning.

Chikatgaonkar (Vaijapur constituency) said he had e-mailed his resignation to the Speaker.

Later in the day, Dattatraya Bharne, the NCP legislator from Indapur, also sent his resignation to the Speaker as well as to party leader Ajit Pawar.

"Despite oral as well as written promises by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, no concrete decision on the reservation was taken to date which is a serious matter," Bharne said.
A Vidhan Bhavan official said an MLA who wished to resign was not required to specify the reason, but some of the MLAs who have quit have stated the reason - that they were quitting in support of the agitation.

The resignation letter, which should be in a prescribed format, needs to be addressed to the Speaker, the official said.

The agitation of the Maratha community for reservation in jobs and education turned violent on Thursday as Maratha outfits called for a bandh in Mumbai and surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, one more Maratha Kranti Morcha riot victim who was injured in an outrage between protestors and police in Navi Mumbai, succumbed to his injuries on Thursday.

(With Agency inputs)