The NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena are busy cornering the CM on the Bhima-Koregaon controversy.
Mumbai: After specific directions from party bosses due to failure in handling the situation in the state, CM Devendra Fadnavis has started a dialogue with dalit leaders, including Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief, Prakash Ambedkar. However, he did not visit Pune to show respect to dalit sentiments and soothe frayed nerves after violence erupted in Bhima-Koregaon village on January 1 during the 200th anniversary of the battle.
Ambedkar said, “We will not demand that the CM visits the place. It is his decision.” “We will consolidate dalit votes across the state but will remain equidistant from the BJP and Congress. Ideologically however, the Congress is closer than BJP,” he added.
Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah is monitoring the situation in the state and giving instructions to CM Fadnavis. Shah said that the Bhima-Koregaon issue was not handled smoothly and tension between the Maratha and dalit communities was growing. Although Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ambedkar and others were trying to bridge the rift, reservation, changes in the Atrocities Act and so on were the main issues for the discord, Shah said. The BJP president said that the outrage in Kolhapur was a reaction to this and that revenue minister Chandrakant Patil was talking to many leaders there. Shah added that the differences might increase considering the elections next year.
After directions from the BJP top brass, CM Fadnavis interacted with Ambedkar, Anandraj Ambedkar, Avinash Mahatekar and others since Wednesday evening. He was continuously taking inputs from BJP leaders and other sources along with the police. He was annoyed because of the Kolhapur situation and spoke to the inspector general and superintendent of police on Wednesday, said sources.
Meanwhile, Prakash Ambedkar has emerged a strong dalit leader who once shared a good equation with the Congress. The NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena are busy cornering the CM on the Bhima-Koregaon controversy. Agitations for Maratha reservation might intensify in February this year, becoming a further cause for concern for the CM, said party sources.