by IANS |
Pune, Nov 14 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said that the sentiments of Maratha youth on the pending reservation issue are "strong" and the government cannot afford to ignore it, here on Tuesday.
Interacting with the media on the occasion of the annual Diwali ‘mela’ organised by the Pawar clan, he said that nearly 70 per cent of the people who are coming for the New Year get-together here are youth.
"They have expressed very strong sentiments on the quotas issue. The ball is with the Centre… the government cannot afford to neglect public feelings. The government should implement the decisions agreed at the recent all-party meeting," urged Pawar.
The NCP supremo made it clear that he never indulged in politicising the Maratha issue though some people last week attempted to create a fake impression that he belonged to the OBC caste.
Pawar said that people have been coming from all over Maharashtra, especially the Konkan and Vidarbha regions for the New Year festivities here, and he would convey the public emotions to the Centre, while expressing hope that something would materialize this week.
Referring to the political speculations as the members of the rival NCP factions united for the Diwali and New Year festivals, Pawar acknowledged that "this year, the situation is a bit different" – a pointer to the split in the party in July.
Earlier, NCP Working President Supriya Sule had clarified that the rivalry between the Ajit Pawar and others is "purely ideological" and does not affect the family relations.
Since morning, thousands of people, including leaders and activists of the breakaway NCP (AP) faction are thronging the Pawar's residence in Govind Baug, Baramati, where Pawar and Sule accorded them a warm welcome and accepted the felicitations of all their admirers with folded hands.
Many of the NCP workers, fans of the Pawars, and ordinary people were seen queuing up with folded hands and when their turn came they bowed to touch the smiling Sharad Pawar's feet and seek his blessings, as he reciprocated by thumping the backs of some.