The remains of Naik Kundalik Mane of Maratha Light Infantry, one of the five soldiers who died in Poonch sector on Tuesday, were cremated yesterday at his hometown of Pimpalgoan in Kolhapur district in the presence of his family, his friends, several ministers and a thousand other villagers. However, the presence of one person was missed: CM Prithviraj Chavan.
The CM’s decision has caused a political furore, with ministers from the NCP saying that it would have been morally correct for the CM to attend the funeral. “Even though a few ministers were present for the sombere occasion, as per protocol the CM was required to be there,” said NCP state spokesman Nawab Malik.
He further argued that as the CM had attended the funeral of Air Force Wing Commander Darryl Castelino, the pilot who died in the chopper crash at Uttarakhand, a similar gesture would have been appropriate.
Accusing the NCP of politicising the issue, Cooperation Minister Harshwardhan Patil said, “I attended the funeral as I am the district guardian minister of Kolhapur. Besides, Home Minister RR Patil, Labour Minister Hassan Mushrif and Minister of State for Home Satej Patil were also present.”
Where was the CM?
While NCP ministers grumbled about the CM’s absence, the CM was busy in the city attending a jewellery show in Goregaon and later, chairing a few meetings at Sahyadri state guesthouse.
Patil also added that 10 MLAs and two MPs from the region have dedicated their one-month’s salary to Mane’s family and would hand over the money on August 15.
Munde slammed for terrorists comment
NCP also slammed senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde for his statement on Pakistani terrorists killing Mane. The NCP said that the BJP disapproved of Defence Minister AK Antony’s similar remarks in Parliament and demanded an immediate apology.