MUMBAI: Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil on Thursday said there was no “instability” in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in the state.
NCP president Sharad Pawar met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday evening, giving rise to speculation about tensions within the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance.
“I don’t know what transpired in the meeting. But there is no question of instability in the government. New issues do crop up. what is the connection between them and the government’s stability,” Patil said, speaking to reporters.
On the Maratha quota issue, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should “take a decision in Parliament”.
“State BJP leaders must pursue the matter with their central leadership,” he said when asked about the future of the quota which has been struck down by the Supreme Court.
On lifting the current lockdown-like restrictions in the state on account of coronavirus pandemic, Patil said the issue of restrictions and COVID-19 numbers is discussed in the cabinet meeting every week.
“Any decision will be taken only after discussions,” he said when asked if the restrictions will be eased after June 1.
Meanwhile, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told reporters that Sharad Pawar has resumed his political activities after taking rest following a surgery.
“He met chief minister Thackeray on Wednesday. He held discussions with (BJP Rajya Sabha MP) Sambhajiraje and NCP leaders this morning,” Malik said.
Pawar has called a meeting of all NCP legislators on June 1, he said.
“He will hold a separate meeting with NCP ministers and take a review of their performance,” Malik said.
The NCP supremo had said before the West Bengal elections that opposition unity was desirable, and he will “start working in that direction against the backdrop of the Central government’s poor handling of the COVID pandemic and failure to deal with vaccine shortage,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Congress on Thursday accused the BJP of betraying the Maratha community, and claimed that the BJP-RSS connection of an organisation that opposed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) quota has come out in the open now.
The BJP, however, said it supports the quota for the community and would continue to do so in future.
It alleged that the Congress was spreading rumours on the issue.
Addressing a press conference, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant claimed that the BJP-RSS connection of the office-bearers of ‘Save Merit Save Nation’ organisation, which opposed the Maratha quota in the Supreme Court, is now out in the open.
“Isn’t this betrayal of the Maratha community when the BJP helps the organisations that opposes the quota. This can’t be a mere coincidence. Did the BJP prevent the party office- bearers from being associated with this organisation? We seek a clarification from the BJP,” Sawant said.
He lashed out at the BJP on its plan to hold a protest on June 5 over the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s handling of the Maratha quota.
“If the COVID-19 numbers go up, superspreader BJP will be responsible for it. The MVA did not make any changes in the legal team or the draft of the act passed by the legislature during the BJP rule. How is the MVA responsible?” he asked.
Sawant accused the BJP of indulging in political opportunism.
Meanwhile, reacting to Sawant’s allegations, BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhye said the Congress was spreading rumours since it was scared of the agitation.
“In fact,some Congress and NCP leaders supported the anti-quota petitions in the court. The BJP was in support of reservation and will continue to remain so,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had struck down the Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas in admissions and government jobs, terming it as “unconstitutional”, and held that there were no exceptional circumstances to breach the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the 1992 Mandal verdict.
The Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in educational institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act 2018 was enacted to grant reservation to people of the Maratha community in the state in jobs and admissions.