MUMBAI: For the first time after taking out 45 silent rallies in Maharashtra in the last five months, Maratha community leaders on Wednesday met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, paving the way for dialogue with the government and putting to rest the fears that the agitation would take a violent turn like the reservation stirs of Gujjars, Jaats and Patels.
“This is a big breakthrough. Till now, the community leaders had maintained that they wouldn’t talk to the government. But they came to the Assembly house to meet the chief minister on Wednesday and handed over a memorandum. They also agreed to the idea of having wide-ranging discussions, which would take place in Mumbai soon,” Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil told Express. Earlier, the community had denied permission to ministers to address the rallies and maintained that they would hand over a memorandum of their demands only to administrative officers.
However, the organisers changed their stand on Wednesday after Patil and Education Minister Vinod Tawde met them at a Nagpur rally and persuaded them to meet the chief minister.
While speaking to the community leaders, Fadnavis made it clear that the government had already granted a quota to the community and it was up to courts to take a final call on the matter. He also expressed willingness to have wide-spectrum talks with community leaders.
“Retired judges, professors, intellectuals and other influential personalities from the community would be involved in the wide-ranging discussions and their services will be availed of for studying various issues and preparing a detailed report on the reservation issue,” the chief minister said.