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BJP-led Dhangars to boycott PM's Solapur tour

Mumbai, Jan 8 (IANS) Spelling embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party-led Dhangar community groups will boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi's functions in Solapur in Maharashtra on Wednesday.

Accusing Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of "betraying the Dhangars", community leader Ganesh Gawde said they would also stage protests during Modi's day-long tour to inaugurate various infrastructure projects and address a public rally.

"Before the 2014 elections, Modi had assured reservation for the Dhangars during his public rally in Solapur Park Stadium. We shall boycott his programmes being held tomorrow at the same venue to remind him of his promises made to us five years ago," Gawde told the media here.

He added that at the time, Modi and Fadnavis had blamed the erstwhile Congress-Nationalist Congress Party of cheating the Dhangar community after which they (Dhangars) wholeheartedly backed the BJP in 2014, both in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

"Now, five years later, they have failed to fulfill their election promise and we have been taken for a ride," rued Gawde.

After the Maratha reservations were cleared by the state government, the Dhangar community leaders have adopted an aggressive stance, holding a series of programs and press conferences to highlight their cause and demanding suitable quotas in education and jobs.

Attempting to safeguard the community vote-bank, on Sunday, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde announced at a Dhangar event that she would not step inside her office in Mantralaya till quotas were announced.

However, barely 48 hours later, she went to her office in the state government headquarters besides attending a cabinet meeting chaired by Fadnavis.

Meanwhile, Solapur local opposition party leaders alleged that the Solapur district administration had refused them permission to stage protests during Modi's visit and there was likely to a cable TV blackout for the day in the city.

--IANS

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