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Sudhir Joshi bows to Thackeray, resigns as president of Lokadhikar Samiti

Maharashtra Education Minister Sudhir Joshi's resignation as president of the Lokadhikar Samiti is a direct fallout of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's interview to Samna. "Maybe, I will have to change the leadership of the Lokadhikar Samiti in the future, if the situation demands. One man (Sudhir Joshi) cannot handle the pressure of working at three places simultaneously. These people should voluntarily keep themselves away from the movement," Thackeray had said during the interview.

In a direct reference to some of the ministers, with whom he is apparently peeved, the Shiv Sena leader said, "Some of our people should have acted with a feeling of sacrifice. But everybody got involved with the government."

Joshi tendered his resignation at a crowded conference of Lokadhikar Samiti officials in Thane. Minister for State for Home Gajanan Kirtikar, the Samiti's Thane president Anand Dighe, Satish Pradhan, MP, Suryakant Dalvi and Arvind Sawant were present when Joshi submitted his resignation.

Speaking toLoksatta, the wellknown Marathi daily, Joshi said, "I have resigned from the post after indications from Bal Thackeray. He has said that as ministers are already burdened by the responsibilities of being ministers, they should resign from other responsibilities. Others should get an opportunity, so I am resigning from the post. There is no other reason behind the resignation."

Joshi was president of the Sthaniya (local) Lokadhikar Samiti for 20 years.

The Samiti under Joshi's leadership, had established a strong presence in Bombay's five-star hotels, banks, the insurance sector, multinational companies and Air-India. The Samiti's main objective was to secure jobs for native Maharashtrians in these institutions.

Joshi was entrusted with the revenue and education portfolio when the Sena-BJP coalition came to power in March 1995. However, the revenue portfolio was given to Narayan Rane after Joshi met with an accident; it was not returned to Joshi when he resumed office subsequently.

His term as member of Maharashtra's legislative council also expired in July.

Interestingly, the Shiv Sena chief had also expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of Bombay Police Commissioner Subhash Malhotra. If he too resigns or is transferred from his present post, it will be an indication of the reactivation of the remote control.

Compiled by Prasanna Zore from the Marathi press

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