Ajit Pawar skips scheduled event amidst growing Maratha protests

Mumbai: Maharashtra deputy chief minister (DCM) Ajit Pawar on Saturday skipped his scheduled event in Baramati amidst the growing protests by Maratha community over their demand for reservation. Activists of Maratha Kranti Morcha opposed entry of political leaders in various towns across the state. Meanwhile, a Maratha man committed suicide in Beed district by jumping in a water tank. This was the third suicide case in the state for reservation.

According to a close aide of Ajit Pawar, he was about to go on Saturday to Baramati to inaugurate the new sugarcane-crushing season of the Malegaon cooperative sugar factory. The factory has been under his control.

As the news of Ajit Pawar is going to attend the programme of the factory became public, scores of agitators gathered outside the factory on Saturday morning, vowing to protest if Ajit Pawar turned up for the programme.

A source said that as the protest for Maratha reservation has intensified across the state, Mr. Pawar has decided to skip his scheduled programme. However, the DCM office said that he is suffering from viral fever for the last two days and therefore he had cancelled his all scheduled programme on Friday itself. “He is taking rest at his home in Pune,” the official said.

When asked, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that it is a sign of wisdom to avoid conflict. “I think Ajit Pawar has taken the right decision,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shatrughan Kashid of Ambajogai tehsil in Beed district of Marathwada region on Friday around 11.30pm died by committing suicide by jumping into a water tank. Kashid was demanding reservations in jobs and education for Marathas. The incident took place at 11.30 pm when Kashid climbed the water tank and gave slogans for the Maratha reservation.

According to local people, Kashid also expressed a desire to speak to Manoj Jarange Patil, who has been sitting on a protest for reservation for Maratha communities. According to the sources, the police tried to counsel Kashid but he jumped from the water tank.

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