Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was trolled on social media for his purported remark on the Maratha agitation in the state. The backlash was the result of a video of him, Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, in which Shinde could be heard saying in Marathi, “We just need to speak and leave, right?”
The viral clip is from moments before the commencement of a press conference after an all-party meeting on Monday. After Pawar’s prompt response “Yes, right”, Fadnavis whispered in Shinde’s ear, pointing out that the microphone was on.
Shinde’s remarks were perceived as disrespectful towards the Maratha reservation agitation, one of the key subjects of the press conference. Some opposition leaders claimed the words imply a lack of seriousness or commitment to addressing the issue.
Watch the video here:
Reacting to the backlash, Eknath Shinde on Wednesday said that his comments were taken out of context. He said that the clip was edited so his comments would be misconstrued.
“Ahead of the press conference, we decided that we would discuss only about Maratha reservation and Manoj Jarange Patil’s hunger strike and not discuss any political questions or any political statements. But some people edited the clip to spread misinformation,” he told news agency ANI.
Shinde said that he and his deputies came to address the media after an all-party meeting on the Maratha reservation issue. He said that the Maharashtra government is sensitive about giving reservations to Marathas and is working towards it.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad Omraje Nimbalkar, who belongs to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) expressed concern over the apparent disinterest of the three leaders on the Maratha reservation issue.
While people are engaged in peaceful protests and hunger strikes for the cause, the government’s response appears inadequate, he added.
Vijay Wadettiwar, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, also slammed Eknath Shinde for “failing to address and resolve” critical issues.
“The government just wants to speak and not address issues facing the common man. This is an inefficient government which wants to run away from addressing critical issues,” he said.
NCP working president Supriya Sule said, “Finally, what is in their heart has come to their lips. This shows that the government is insensitive to the issues of people.”
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray slammed the CM for being insensitive on the Maratha quota issue. “This is the hallmark of a traitor. If such people betray those who made them big, how can they be trusted,” he asked.
Meanwhile, Eknath Shinde on Tuesday announced the withdrawal of police cases filed against pro-Maratha reservation protesters in Jalna district.
With PTI Inputs