Is there a ‘declared emergency’ in country, asks Uddhav

CM attacks Centre on farmers’ protest; counters Opposition criticism on Maratha reservation issue

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked whether the country is facing a ‘declared emergency’ as farmers protesting the new farm laws are being labelled anti-national.

“Democracy allows every section of society to protest and voice their grievances. The farmers are protesting the Central government but they are being stopped by the police, water cannons are being used to disperse them, and now they are being termed as terrorists, anti-nationals, Pakistanis or Chinese. Is this a declared emergency in the country?” he said at a press conference on the eve of two-day winter session of the State legislature.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government brought sugar and onions from Pakistan. And now they are calling our farmers Pakistanis. This is not our culture,” Mr. Thackeray said.

He was responding to the Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis’s allegation that Maharashtra is facing a ‘undeclared emergency.’

Mr. Thackeray further said that it has been noticed in recent times that many Central agencies are being used as domestic help by the Union government. “The government should not test patience of people as they see everything,” he said.

On Mr. Fadnavis’s criticism that the State government has failed to address the issue of Maratha reservation leading to a stay from the Supreme Court, Mr. Thackeray said that the government placed its stance in the apex court after consultation with community organisations, lawyers, and leaders. “We want to reiterate that OBC reservation will not be harmed at all. Not only OBC but no other quota will be reduced. Nobody needs to worry,” he said.

The CM attacked the Opposition for creating unnecessary panic among OBC people. “I urge the Opposition to stop harming the social harmony in the State,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was present at the press meet, said that the recent MLC polls where the Maha Vikas Aghadi won five seats out of the six is a manifestation of people’s trust in the government. “The first year of this government was lost in coronavirus but still we are marching ahead. The State is yet to receive ₹28,000 crore in GST compensation from the Centre. It is observed that laws are not being followed by the Centre,” he said.

Coming down on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari who is yet to give his assent to the 12 names approved by the State Cabinet to be nominated to the Council, Mr. Thackeray said that the legislature is accountable to people. “We agree that it is the Governor’s right but there needs to be a debate on how long he can keep the seats vacant,” he said.

Earlier, the Opposition BJP boycotted a tea party called by the State government claiming that it has failed to provide justice to every stratum of society.

“The government has failed on all fronts, be it the handling of COVID-19 or helping farmers affected by cyclone, heavy rain and floods. The farmers celebrated Deepavali in darkness,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

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