Two Maharashtra lawmakers have sent their resignation letters to the Assembly Speaker in support of Maratha community's demand for quota in jobs and education, after violent protests in Aurangabad and other districts on Tuesday and Wednesday. The protests turned violent in areas like Mankhurd in Mumbai, and Vashi and Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai. 447 people have been detained in connection with the violence that saw buses being set on fire and stone throwing.
The lawmakers who have offered to resign are Harshavardhan Jadhav of the Shiv Sena and Bhausaheb Patil Chikatgaonkar of the NCP. Mr Jadhav represents Kannad and Mr Chikatgaonkar represents the Vaijapur assembly constituency. In the 288-member House, the Shiv Sena has 63 lawmakers and the NCP has 41.
The Shiv Sena has attacked the government for allowing the protests to go out of hand. "For a Chief Minister who takes the credit for everything, where was he for 24 hours yesterday? Fadnavis is only now talking about negotiating with the protesters," the Shiv Sena said in an editorial, in its party mouthpiece Saamna. The editorial goes on to say, "Had the Chief Minister spoken to protesters a week ago, the violence could have been avoided and the suicide by a protester could have been stopped too," effectively blaming the Devendra Fadnavis for yesterday's arson.
Peace has returned to Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Raigad and Thane on Thursday, after a day of violence on the streets, which ended in a standoff between the police and protesters, who are demanding a quota for the Maratha community. No fresh protests have been reported today. Wednesday's protests peaked after the strike was called off in Mumbai and ended in an hour-long dramatic standoff between the police and protesters in Kalamboli in Raigad district.
Opposition Congress too, on Tuesday, had blamed Mr Fadnavis for the Maratha reservation agitation taking a violent turn and demanded his resignation. Congress leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil accused the state government of dilly-dallying on the demands of the community, when it was taking out "silent" morchas across to press for its demands, including reservation in jobs and education. The Chief Minister however, has blamed the Opposition for fanning the violence.