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‘Don’t need your certificate for my Hindutva’ — Uddhav lashes out at Maharashtra Governor

The latest bone of contention is the reopening of religious places, with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari calling for them to be opened up, in line with a BJP demand.

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Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have clashed once again, this time over the opening of religious places in the state, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-backed demand.

The Governor and the chief minister have had acerbic correspondence over the issue with the former questioning if Thackeray, a proponent of Hindutva, has suddenly turned “secular,” and the latter hitting back by saying his Hindutva doesn’t need the Governor’s certificate.

The CM has slammed the governor, saying opening or closing religious places has nothing to do with being Hindutva or secular.

In his letter to Thackeray Monday, Koshyari said, “I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of places of worship time and again or have you suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourselves, the term you hated (sic)?”

Thackeray responded in Marathi Tuesday, saying,”Why should you have this question? Are you saying that simply opening religious places stands for Hindutva and keeping them shut is secular? So, are you not accepting that secularism is an important tenet of the constitution by which you were sworn in as governor?”

The CM also said, “In your letter you have referred to my Hindutva ideology and that is right, but my Hindutva does not need your certificate.”

Koshyari’s letter had spoken about how Thackeray has always been a “strong votary of Hindutva” and has publicly espoused his devotion for Lord Ram by visiting Ayodhya after becoming CM.

The Shiv Sena circulated copies of both the letters among journalists Tuesday.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, comprising Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, has kept places of worship in Maharashtra shut since the lockdown was first enforced in March. The state government fears that opening of religious places may lead to crowding and a spike in Covid-19 cases.

There has been a growing demand from all opposition parties, particularly the BJP, for opening places of worship.

BJP leaders had last month staged protests in different parts of Maharashtra, calling it a “ghantanaad andolan,” to demand the reopening of religious places. On Tuesday, a day after Koshyari’s letter, party leaders once again protested over the issue outside temples in cities such as Mumbai, Shirdi, Nagpur and Kolhapur.


Also read: ‘Vendetta or witch hunt’ — Republic TV ‘fake TRP’ probe opens another front in BJP-MVA fight


‘Governor’s letter contains BJP requests’

In his letter to Thackeray, Koshyari said, “It is ironical that while on one hand the state government has permitted the opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, on the other, our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown.”

In his reply, Thackeray in turn highlighted the state government’s, ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign, aimed at spreading awareness about taking necessary precautions in the battle against Covid and getting health check ups done. “Our government’s primary responsibility is to take care of the health of the population, while also taking care of their sentiments and devotion,” his letter states.

The governor’s letter also said that over the last three months, several delegations have met him with a request to reopen places of worship in Maharashtra. “These included delegations of religious leaders, individuals, NGOs, and political leaders,” the governor’s letter said, adding, “Copies of three representations received in this regard are enclosed for necessary action.”

The CM’s reply said, “All the three letters enclosed are from BJP functionaries and supporters. This could be a coincidence. Even so, the state government has taken your request into serious consideration and I would like to assure you that a decision would be taken on this at the earliest after taking all the necessary precautions.”

Raj Bhavan-MVA government history

Tensions have always been high between the Maharashtra Raj Bhavan and the MVA government, with Koshyari having been a BJP functionary and a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supporter.

The governor has been critical of the MVA government’s handling of the Covid crisis in the state, with Maharashtra having the country’s highest caseload.

In May, the CM had snubbed the governor by sending his secretary, Milind Narvekar, to attend a meeting called at Raj Bhavan to review the state’s progress in its fight against Covid.

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had in April also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining about Koshyari’s interference in administrative work.


Also read: ‘Aarey saved’ — CM Uddhav Thackeray moves controversial metro car depot to Kanjurmarg


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why is the “world’s best” Chief Minister irritated by a harmless comment by the Governor?
    The answer is self evident.
    The truth must have hurt.

Comments are closed.

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