Maharashtra Congress launches ‘Jan Samvad Yatra’ amidst tensions


The Maharashtra Congress has kickstarted its ‘Jan Samvad Yatra’ in the state, aiming to connect with the people, energize its cadre, and bring attention to the perceived “misdeeds” of both the Central government and the state administration under Eknath Shinde, with a focus on issues like unemployment and inflation. However, the party temporarily suspended the yatra in eight Marathwada districts, including Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nanded, Hingoli, and Parbhani, due to heightened tensions following a police lathi-charge on Maratha quota protesters in Jalna district.
Nana Patole, the Maharashtra Congress chief, launched this extensive outreach initiative from Wardha district in eastern Vidarbha. Prior to embarking on the yatra, he paid homage at the martyrs’ memorial in Ashti taluka. During his address, Patole highlighted the struggles faced by farmers, youth, women, and traders due to what he described as misguided policies pursued by both state and Central governments. He also pointed out the ongoing drought-like conditions and damage to Kharif crops.
Patole strongly criticized the state government, labeling it “illegal and unconstitutional.” He alleged that the lathi-charge on Maratha quota protesters in Jalna was a diversionary tactic orchestrated during the INDIA alliance meeting held in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1.
In Nagpur, the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar, led the yatra. The initiative involved party workers visiting various parts of the city and engaging with local residents.
In Chandgad taluka of Kolhapur district, Satej Patil, a prominent Congress leader in the state legislative council, participated in the yatra. Together with party workers, he walked through villages and engaged in discussions with the locals.
Meanwhile, in north Maharashtra, Congress’ legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat is scheduled to launch the yatra from Ahmednagar city on Monday, as per party sources. However, the party temporarily suspended the yatra in Marathwada, and new dates will be announced in the near future.
The escalation of tension in Marathwada occurred after police resorted to baton charges and tear gas to disperse a violent mob in Antarwali Sarathi on the Dhule-Solapur road in Jalna. The protesters had reportedly obstructed authorities from transferring a hunger-striking individual to a hospital during a demonstration demanding reservation for the Maratha community. The violence resulted in injuries to around 40 policemen and several protesters, with multiple buses set on fire.