Saturday, December 9, 2023

Protesters Blew Up NCP MLA Prakash Solanke’s Home in Agitation

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In Maharashtra’s Beed district, the residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Prakash Solanke was reportedly vandalized and set ablaze on Monday by individuals purportedly involved in the ongoing Maratha reservation protests. According to police reports, the agitators also set fire to a car parked on the premises. Social media images depicted a significant blaze engulfing his bungalow, with smoke billowing into the surrounding vicinity, following an earlier incident of stone-pelting at the property. According to a report by the news agency PTI, the assault on Solanke’s residence followed the circulation of an audio recording in which the NCP MLA allegedly made a disparaging comment about the Maratha quota agitation, subtly referencing activist Manoj Jarange Patil’s hunger strike. The audio purportedly captured Solanke referring to the Maratha reservation matter as a “trivial matter,” adding to the escalating tensions within the community. “A person, who has not even contested a gram panchayat election, has become a smart person today,” he said in an apparent dig at quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil. According to a statement given to ANI, NCP MLA Solanke recounted being present in the house during the incident, expressing relief that none of his family members or staff were harmed. He acknowledged significant property damage resulting from the fire.

Amidst the Maratha quota agitations in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Hemant Patil made headlines on Sunday by resigning as an MP from Hingoli over the reservation dispute, composing his resignation letter at a protest site in Yavatmal. In response to the resignation, hunger strike activist Manoj Jarange Patil suggested that the state’s Maratha MPs and MLAs convene a special assembly session to address the matter, previously labeling the delay in passing the Maratha Reservation Bill as a “conspiracy” by the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister to obstruct Maratha progress.

Tragically, the Maratha quota issue has led to three fatalities in Beed district, the most recent being an alleged suicide by drowning in a water tank on October 28.

Meanwhile, both Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reaffirmed their support for the Maratha community, guaranteeing that the state government would uphold their rights and resolve their issues.

In an interview, Fadnavis pledged that the Maharashtra government would imminently make a “definitive decision” on the Maratha quotas, echoing Shinde’s prior assurance that the community’s grievances would be addressed.

Shinde also declared on Monday the formation of a three-member expert panel under the auspices of the Chief Minister’s Shiv Sena faction and BJP, tasked with advising the Maharashtra government on submitting a proposed curative plea to the Supreme Court concerning the Maratha reservation issue.

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