Transport workers protest outside NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s home in Mumbai, throw shoes – Reuters
Bombay, April 8
Chaos reigned outside the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar here on Friday afternoon as more than a hundred striking workers from the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) staged angry protests, accusing the leader veteran to do nothing to help them.
Police appeared to have been taken by surprise as protesters gathered outside ‘Silver Oak’, Pawar’s residence on Pedder Road in south Mumbai at around 3pm.
Employees of the public transport body, which has more than 90,000 people on its payroll, have been on strike since November 2021. While Pawar’s party is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, the portfolio of transport is owned by Anil Parab of the Shiv Sena.
Pawar’s daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule tried to appease the protesters outside the house, saying she was ready to talk to them but had to make sure her friends first. parents who were inside were safe.
Police then rounded up many protesters and took them away, while additional forces were deployed outside the house.
Among the key demands of the striking MSRTC workers are that they be treated equally with state government employees and that the cash-strapped company be merged with the government. .
The protest came a day after the Bombay High Court ordered workers back to work by April 22. Following the court order, Transport Minister Parab had assured that no action would be taken against workers who entered into service before the deadline set by the HC.
But on Friday afternoon, a group of MSRTC employees reached Pawar’s residence and started shouting slogans against the former Union minister.
Some protesters were also seen throwing shoes towards the house.
“Some 120 MSRTC employees have died by suicide since the strike began. These are not suicides but murders, caused by state policy… Sharad Pawar has done nothing to solve the problem” , a protester told reporters.
“We respect yesterday’s decision of the Bombay High Court, but we were discussing the issues with the state government which was elected by the people. This government has done nothing for us. The Chanakya of this government , Sharad Pawar, is also responsible for our losses,” said another protesting worker.
Pleading with protesters, Sule said, “I am ready to hold talks with you. Please cooperate… My father, my mother and my daughter are inside the house. I am ready to hold talks with you. I will continue to speak with the protesters.” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangre-Patil also reached the spot as more police forces were deployed.
Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, who belongs to the NCP, said the workers should not have taken the law into their own hands.
“The unwanted turn the protest has taken is not good. The commotion outside the residence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai was unnecessary,” he tweeted in Marathi.
He was “well known” who incited agitators, he said without naming anyone, while saying the state government was open to dialogue with agitators.
BJP leader Pravin Darekar said the state’s Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government was “unresponsive”. “More than 100 MSRTC employees lost their lives, but the state government was never serious about breaking the impasse. Ministers Anil Parab and Ajit Pawar repeatedly warned of disciplinary action against the employees. It is this arrogance that the employees have not forgotten,” he added. mentioned.
Sadabhau Khot, another BJP legislator from the state, said, “There was a union of workers in the MSRTC which was affiliated with the NCP. This union deceived other employees. MSRTC that it would merge the company with the state government. The NCP’s manifesto for the 2019 assembly elections clearly promised the merger of the company with the state government.” The state’s social justice minister, Dhananjay Munde, alleged it was a “pre-planned agitation targeting Sharad Pawar”.