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Maratha quota row: Eknath Shinde gives assurance of reservation, activist Patil questions govt's intent

Mumbai: As the Maratha quota agitation gains momentum, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday said that everyone agreed on providing reservation to Marathas in the all-party meeting held in Mumbai and urged activist Manoj Jarange Patil to maintain peace and cooperate with the government in its efforts.

CM Shinde said, "At the all-party meeting, everyone agreed that the Maratha community should get reservation. It was decided the reservation should be within the framework of the law and without doing injustice to other communities."

"I request Manoj Jarange Patil to have faith in the efforts of the government. This protest has started taking a new direction. The incidents of violence that have taken place and are taking place in the state are unjustified and are bringing disrepute to the movement. We strongly reject these incidents. Common people should not feel insecure. I request all to not take law into their own hands and maintain peace and cooperate with the state government," he added.
State Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo, Sharad Pawar, former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Ministers Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Chandrakantdada Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Valse Patil, Girish Mahajan, Dadaji Bhuse are among those who attended the meeting at Sahyadri Guest House.
However, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on Wednesday questioned the delay in the implementation of reservation by the Eknath Shinde-led government saying the political parties are no different as they have a similar bent of mind in this matter.

Addressing a press conference in Jalna, Maharashtra, Patil said, "Why do they (Maharashtra government) need time? We have been holding our patience but they need to come clean on why they need more time. What will you do with more time? Answer that and we will decide on whether to give more time to you or not."
He asserted that his ongoing protest for the provision of quota for the Maratha community would continue till the demand is met.
"We won't step back from our protest unless we get reservation. I will even go without water. I will not drink a single drop of water (till the demand is met). All parties are the same (on the quota issue). They are no different," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut alleged that his party MPs and MLAs were not sent an invitation to the all-party meeting.
Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, opposition MLAs in the state called on Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar and demanded that he convene a special session of the Assembly as soon as possible amid the ongoing Maratha quota protest.

The opposition MLAs tendered a memorandum to the Speaker seeking a special session of the Assembly for discussions on the quota protest. The ongoing protest took a violent turn on Monday after the protestors vandalised the residences and offices of many politicians. The Maratha community has been up in arms over the last couple of months, demanding their inclusion in the state's OBC list.

Maharashtra Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar on Wednesday attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde over the Maratha reservation agitation, saying 'the law and order in the state is unstable and the government should bring it under control at the earliest.

'The protest for quota for the Maratha community turned violent on Monday after Maratha quota supporters vandalised the homes and offices of several politicians.
The Congress leader further urged the Maharashtra government to take the initiative to end the agitation over the Maratha reservation as soon as possible.
"The government did not comment on it (the demand for a special session of the Assembly). It neither discussed nor proposed that. The government should take the initiative towards getting this agitation (on the Maratha reservation) called off as soon as possible. We told the government to take the initiative," Wadettiwar said."
"The law and order in the state is unstable and the government should bring this under control at the earliest and we stand with the government over this," Wadettiwar added.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawade on Maratha reservation row said, "As you know since October 25, Manoj Jarange Patil has been on hunger strike. Police administration is in coordination with him continuously. The coordination is being maintained. Currently, many Rasta Roko protests are going on in Jalna. We are trying to maintain that protests should be within legal and constitutional limits."
The Maratha community has been protesting for their inclusion on the state's OBC list for more than two months.

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