Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil said on Thursday that he was ready to hold a discussion with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar. Jarange-Patil made the statement after the Maratha Reservation Morcha, which is headed to Mumbai, reached Lonavala on Thursday.
“I am ready to hold discussions with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and two deputy chief ministers…They should come and meet me,” Jarange-Patil told reporters after reaching Lonavala along with hundreds of Maratha community members.
A delegation of government officials had met Jarange-Patil and conveyed a message from the chief minister. “I held discussions with officials. I put forth my demands. The officials said they will speak to the chief minister. If every time, they want to say the same thing, then why is the chief minister himself not talking to me? He should come and meet me… I am ready to hold discussions with them,” Jarange-Patil said.
The activist, however, said there will be no closed-door talks. “The discussions should be held in full public view,” he said.
Jarange-Patil said he was in favour of holding discussions so that the demands put forth by the Maratha community were met. “’We are interested in the resolution of our problems. We do not want to go on and on. It is very cold. Everyone has to suffer. The government should meet our demands, then we will take a call about our hunger strike. Let them first hold discussions,” he said.
“I will begin my fast at Azad Maidan and not in Navi Mumbai as is being suggested. We have come prepared to stay put in Mumbai for a longer period. The fast will be held only at Azad Maidan. I do not know whether permission has been given or not,” Jarange-Patil said earlier in the day. Later on Thursday, the Mumbai police denied permission to Jarange-Patil to hold a hunger strike in the city.
Government sources said Shinde is likely to hold a discussion with Jarange-Patil through video-conferencing.