Maratha quota agitation: 5 MLAs cutting across party lines resign from Maharashtra Assembly in solidarity with protests

Mumbai/Nashik: Five MLAs have so far resigned over the Maratha quota demand.

Bharat Bhalke (Congress), Rahul Aher (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Dattatraya Bharne (Nationalist Congress Party) resigned as legislators on Thhursday, Maharashtra Assembly sources said.

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

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

 Maratha quota agitation: 5 MLAs cutting across party lines resign from Maharashtra Assembly in solidarity with protests

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

"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 added.

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

On Wednesday, 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 this morning. Chikatgaonkar (Vaijapur constituency) said he had e-mailed his resignation to the Speaker.

Later on Thursday, 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 violenton Wednesday as Maratha outfits called for a bandh in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the government was ready for talks with the agitators.

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2018 07:28:13 IST